This story comes from Mount Lushan, Qingdao City, Shandong Province where there were two caves called Taoshidong and Shashidong. A village was located outside each cave, known as Taoshidong Village and Shashidong Village. The two villages were less than one mile apart. Later, however, only Shashidong Village remained.
The area was home to a group of bandits. One day, news of the bandits looting along the main road reached the villages. The people from each of the villages went to hide in their own caves. The news reached a woman carrying a child walking along the road. She was closest to the Taoshidong cave and asked the villagers if she could hide with them in their cave. The cave was not very big so the Taoshidong people were reluctant to let her in. When everyone was hiding quietly, the child suddenly cried and the woman couldn’t stop the crying. Afraid that the crying might expose the cave to the bandits who could then find them, some people told the woman to leave. The others, worried about their own safety, chased the woman away. In desperation, the woman, now crying herself along with the crying child, left and went in the direction of the other cave.
Some Shashidong people, who had already been hiding in the cave and heard the crying from the distance, walked out of the cave to look at the situation. Seeing the woman passing by, they quickly brought her into the cave and moved both mother and child to the innermost part of the cave so that the sound of the child’s crying would be much quieter. As soon as the woman settled down with the child, the child stopped crying. Together, the people nervously kept silent for a long time until a dog’s barking broke the silence. A young man went out to check the situation and found that the bandits had already left.
The Shashidong Village people walked out of their cave. They found the Taoshidong Cave very quiet, so they sent some young men to inform the people hiding in the cave that the bandits had gone. When the young people reached Taoshidong Cave, they saw that all the people inside had been killed by the bandits and the village had come to an unfortunate end. On returning, they could not find any trace of the woman and the child and there was no clue as to their whereabouts.
In the year following the incident, a cluster of white snow-like azaleas appeared between the two villages. These white azaleas were unique in that area.
People wondered if the woman was actually a manifestation of Bodhisattva Guanyin, also known as Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, who used the danger to test the villagers’ hearts to see if they could pass the test of good and evil.
Translated by Jean Chen and edited by Helen