Once when there were no rivers on the earth, the Jade Dragon was in charge of clouds. She decided when and where the clouds would rain upon the land and when they would stop. She was very proud of her power and of the reverence the people of earth paid her. Jade Dragon had four dragon children: Pearl, Yellow, Long, and Black. They were large and strong and good and kind. They helped Jade Dragon with her work and whenever they flew in the sky she was overwhelmed with love and pride.
However, one day, as Jade Dragon ended the rain and moved the clouds away from the land, she overheard some villagers’ conversation.
"Ah, thank goodness the rain is gone," one man said.
"Yes," another said, "I’m so tired of the rain. I’m glad the clouds are gone and the sun is finally shining."
Those words filled Jade Dragon with anger. Tired of rain! Glad the clouds were gone! Jade Dragon was indignant. How dare the villagers dishonor her that way!
Jade Dragon was so offended that she decided that she would never let it rain again. "The people can enjoy the sun forever," Jade Dragon thought resentfully.
Of course, that meant despair for the people on earth. As the sun beat overhead and the rain never came, drought and famine spread over the land. Animals and trees withered and died and the people begged for rain, but Jade Dragon ignored them.
But their suffering did not go unnoticed by Jade Dragon’s children. They were horrified at the anguish and misery on earth. One by one, they went to their mother and pleaded forgiveness for the humans — but even their words did not soften their mother’s cold heart. "We will never make it rain for the people again," Jade Dragon vowed.
Pearl, Yellow, Long, and Black met in secret.