The Legendary Biographies of the Immortals

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The Legendary Biographies of the Immortals ( 《疑仙傳》 Yixian Zhuan ) had 3 volumes as recorded in the Brief Bibliographies in the General Records and now is united in one volume in the text contained in the Daoist Canon. The book has the author's name written as "Hermit Yu Jian" but in some citations the author is named "Wang Jan". This, however, may be due to a misprint of two similar characters. Thought the original text does not mention an author, the Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of the Four Repositories deduces that some author in Song Dynasty (960-1279) wrote it. The book records some magic stories about 22 people, such as Li Yuan, Ge Yong, Medicine Elder, the Flutes Girl, etc. The author says he dare not call them immortals directly for he had just heard the stories occasionally from friends, and that's why the book is titled Legendary Biographies of the Immortals. The Biographies of the Immortals is a part of Daoist literature. Since the publication of Biographies of the Immortals and Biographies of Various Immortals, such works and books continuously appeared. The clumsily written, the book is still noteworthy for its stories about several people from after the Kaiyuan Era of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Meanwhile, as other immortal biographies, the book contains many sermons and admonishments in its stories. As Gentleman Keeping to One, Ding Fubao in Republican China, puts it," The debate between Guan Ge and Zhang Guo, the Chin-bearing Scholar's words to Tai Bai, and Jiang Cheng's answer to Ye Jing, though they all sound like arguments, actually contain the ultimate truth and are teachings from Dao and warnings for profane people."