Stone marten, celestial marten, marten Ta-Guan
Ta-Guan isn’t a simple northern marten. She was born from a stone egg. A little later, she mastered the human language; and then she ended up in the Heavens.
In ‘Takuan’s Adventures,’ the celestial marten is one of the main tricksters. She does not sit still; she is ambitious and cunning, although this cunning sometimes works against her.
The marten’s ambition is simple – she wants to command all the martens. To fulfill her desire, she needs to get the sun, and this is an impossible task. Also, unlike Takuan’s, her cunning has no moral basis. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the marten gets into trouble over and over again.
The stone—and then celestial—marten Ta-Guan appears in the very first chapter of ‘Prince of Blue Flowers’ and immediately sets off on a journey through the Middle Realm. She gets up to the Heavens, where she creates quite a commotion. As a result, she is imprisoned in the quarterstaff of the mighty Yanwang Umma-ö.
This way, the adventures of the marten are interrupted, and the reader will meet her only on the pages of the second part of ‘Takuan from Koto,’ which is called ‘Hunters of Weredemons.’
How did the sky marten Ta-Guan manage to free herself? Has she returned to her search for the sun, and what commotion has she caused this time? If you want to find out about it, you have to listen to the explanation in the second part of ‘Takuan from Koto.’
With great pleasure the marten bathed in soft warming water and dived for small fish. But the feelings of the ice block differed completely. From the bright sun and warm water, it became smaller and smaller. Finally, there was so little ice left that the marten could barely fit on it.
She was worried about her fate and began to shift nervously on the spot. The small remainder of the ice block swayed harder and finally capsized, knocking the marten into the sea.
Snorting, the marten climbed back up, and then noticed a dark line in the west – it was land. “Hooray!” The marten was delighted and hurried to the shore.
The marten took the words of the demon hermit for pure water and went up the mountain. Deftly clinging to the branches of trees, she made her way higher and higher and finally reached the garden. Without any difficulty, she jumped over the fence and climbed a peach tree.
She picked the biggest, ripest fruit she could see and was about to return to the hermit when something gave her pause. Looking at the succulent peach, she was stricken by a sudden desire to taste its sweetness for herself.
“Just one bite,” she decided.
“Here it is – the sun!” decided Ta-Guan. She jumped with all her might, but still did not reach the shelf – yet this did nothing to dampen her ardour. With all the dexterity she could muster, she climbed up the shelves.
Once on the top shelf, the marten pulled off the cover from the bulb in which Yanwang had locked the fiery imp. Bright light splashed in all directions.
Satisfied with her find, Ta-Guan took the luminous bulb in her hands. The glass prickled her fingers, as if trying to get under the skin.