A cool introduction to one of the lesser-known deities, Shen Nong 神农 shén nóng, the God of Agriculture (and later called the Bodhisattva of Medicine). This is upper-intermediate reading: expect a lot of new words (mostly relating to plants and Chinese medicine) but intermediate sentence structure, and sentences mostly communicate a complete point.
Shen Nong, we are to understand, had a transparent abdomen so all his innards could be seen from the outside (yes, the first sentence does say ‘Shen Nong had a crystal belly’), and he always carried two bags with him – read the story to find out what the bags were for.
We touch on the origins of some well-known plants (one of which is poorly described, I think), but the last paragraph talks about the herb “heartbreak grass” – 断肠草 duàn cháng cǎo – which I’d never heard of and which is not a common plant. The English botanical name is Gelsemium elegans (yeah, no idea), which according to the abstract of one study is “a toxic plant indigenous to southeastern Asia, well known among hill tribes as an effective means for committing suicide”. So a very potent poison, then.
Original post was found on a cool mythology and fable website – you may find some other interesting stuff there. I made a tiny edit from the original to correct a mistake.