|About the Book|
A certain soldier, says a tale of the Tang dynasty, was in the habit of taking his potations beneath the branches of a spreading tree. One day he fell asleep and dreamed that fairies came to him and carried him away to the country of their king.MoreA certain soldier, says a tale of the Tang dynasty, was in the habit of taking his potations beneath the branches of a spreading tree. One day he fell asleep and dreamed that fairies came to him and carried him away to the country of their king. Here he was royally received, taken from one scene of regal splendor to another, and at length appointed by the king governor of a country where he lived for many years. However, when the dreamer roused himself from sleep he found all these experiences had taken but a moment of time. In making the effort to compress within a few pages the complex record of the more than four millenniums of Chinese history, it is impossible not to envy the above-mentioned soldier his magic potion. How otherwise can we, within our inevitable limitations, grasp the significance of the age-long story?Is it not strange, in these days when the lines of demarcation between continents and peoples are being abolished as never since the days when Alexander the Great made Europe and Asia one, that so far as the science of history goes, the average student limits his knowledge of the past to the classical story of Greece and Rome and to the comparatively recent annals of Europe and America?Is it not strange that that long unbroken highway of human life which stretches right back without a chasm from our own time to the ages of fable and myth, the continuous tale to which the most ancient annals of Greece and Rome seem modern by the contrast, the history which has its surprises such as bear witness to the vitality of youth in the present, should be to so large an extent an untrodden road by the ordinary student in our schools and universities?The excuse of inaccessibility and remoteness will no longer hold for those who have treated a great volume of the deepest human interest as though it were a book sealed with seven seals.