Sun Simiao (孙思邈) was a Chinese physician and writer of the Sui and Tang dynasties. The title of “Chinese King of Medicine” (药王; 藥王, Yaowang) was awarded to him for his significant contribution to Chinese medicine and the care of the patients entrusted to him.

Sun and the Snake

Sun Simiao was a famous healer. At first glance, he recognized herbs in nature and recognized their healing properties, with which he could cure any disease. In addition to nature, he loved to communicate with an old hermit who lived alone and revealed to him more secrets of the healing art of herbal medicine.

Once, when Sun was collecting herbs, he saw a shepherd poking a blue snake with his stick – he was trying to kill it. Sun did not want the animal to be killed and told the shepherd to stop, but the shepherd did not want to because he was afraid that the snake would bite him and then his herd. To leave and spare the snake, Sun offered the shepherd his clothes. The shepherd accepted and Sun took the snake to heal it with his healing art. When she recovered, the snake crawled into the bushes to be free.

Sun Simiao, as depicted by Gan Bozong, woodcut, Tang Dynasty (618-907)

Sun and the Dragon King

Sun wandered through nature again and met horsemen who went to a beautiful city and invited him to come with them. He agreed and they arrived together to the city, taking him to a large palace, where he would be presented to the king. When he crossed the threshold of the audience hall, he saw the king and a boy in a blue robe next to him.

“You saved my son’s life, and I am grateful to you for that,” the ruler said. “I am the Dragon King, and this is my son, with whom we have the ability to change our appearance.”
Sun realized that the blue snake he had rescued from the shepherd was actually the Dragon Prince.

The dragon king realized that Sun was a brilliant healer because his son’s wounds were large. Therefore, the king wanted to give him the most valuable gift that only his people had – thirty books of healing through healing properties, of which only dragons knew.

After reading the thirty volumes, Sun began to practice the knowledge of the herbs described in them and to cure various kinds of diseases. He traveled the country, trying all the plants he came across. He tried them on himself first, and then recommended to the patients which herbs to take.

He discovered many remarkable qualities of herbs. He realized that by mixing some poisons with other plants, they became edible. Parts of his body were said to be transparent, so he observed the effects of plants on his organs.

When Sun died, many people were saddened because he was the best healer who walked this earth. They were convinced that they should send him with honors and a rich funeral, to be remembered forever, but when they went to lay his body in a coffin, a miracle happened. Only his clothes were found, and his body disappeared without a trace. Sun, the great healer, moved to heaven, where he took his place among the gods.