Lord Thunder and Lady Lightning

In Taiwan, Lord Thunder has quite a reputation. Often at mealtime you can hear mom and dad say, "Kids, be sure to clean your plates. If you don't finish all your food, watch out — Lord Thunder will strike you dead!" Or maybe you've heard an old man say to a youngster, "People mustn't do anything wicked. If Lord Thunder catches them at it, he'll beat them to death!"

So just who is this "Lord Thunder"? And why is it that whenever you hear thunder, you always see a flash of lightning first? Well, as it turns out, there's a story about that.

They say that a long, long time ago in a little village in the south, there lived a hunter who hunted a few small animals for his living. In his house he kept a very special hunting hound called Nine Ear Dog — and it really did have nine ears! Every time he wanted to go out hunting, the hunter would first check to see if any of Nine Ear Dog's ears were moving. If one ear was moving, it meant he would catch one animal that day; if three ears were moving, he knew he would catch three. It worked every time!

One day the hunter was preparing to go out hunting, so just as usual, he took a look at Nine Ear Dog's ears. Suddenly he cried out. "Good heavens! All nine ears are moving! I've never seen such a good omen before. Today I will surely meet with great success!"

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