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The quarrelsome brothers

AT K'un-yang there lived a wealthy man named Tseng. When he died, and before he was put in the coffin, tears were seen to gush forth from both eyes of the corpse, to the infinite amazement of his six sons. His second son, T'i, otherwise called Yu-Yu, who had gained for himself the reputation of being a scholar, said it was a bad omen, and warned his brothers to be careful and not give cause for sorrow to the dead, at which the others only laughed at him as an idiot.

Tseng's first wife and eldest son having been carried off by the rebels when the latter was only seven or eight years old, he married a second wife, by whom he had three sons, Hsiao, Chung, and Hsin; besides three other sons by a concubine namely, the above-mentioned T'i, or Yu-Yu, Jen, and Yi. Now the three by the second wife banded themselves together against the three by the concubine, saying that the latter were a base-born lot; and whenever a guest was present and either of them happened to be in the room, Hsiao and his two brothers would not take the slightest notice of them. This enraged Jen and Yi very much, and they went to consult with Yu-Yu as to how they should avenge themselves for such slights. Yu-Yu, however, tried every means in his power to pacify them, and would not take part in any plot; and, as they were much younger than he, they took his advice, and did nothing.

Hsiao had a daughter, who died shortly after her marriage to a Mr. Chou; and her father begged Yu-Yu and his other brothers to go with him and give his late daughter's mother-in-law a sound beating.  Yu-Yu would not hear of it for a moment; so Hsiao in a rage got his brothers Chung and Hsin, with a lot of rowdies from the neighbourhood, and went off and did it themselves, scattering the goods and chattels of the family about, and smashing everything they could lay their hands on. An action was immediately brought by the Chou family, and Hsiao and his two brothers were thrown into prison by the angry mandarin, who purposed sending the case before a higher tribunal. Yu-Yu, however, whose high character was well known to that official, interceded for them, and himself went to the Chou family and tendered the most humble apologies for what had occurred. The Chou family, out of respect for Yu-Yu, suffered the case to drop, and Hsiao regained his liberty, though he did not evince the slightest gratitude for his brother's exertions. Shortly after, Yu-Yu's mother died; but Hsiao and the other two refused to put on mourning for her, going on with their usual feasting and drinking as if nothing had happened. Jen and Yi were furious at this; but Yu-Yu only observed, "What they do is their own indecorous behaviour; it does not injure us." Then, again, when the funeral was about to take place, Hsiao, Chung, and Hsin stood before the door of the vault, and would not allow the others to bury their mother there. So Yu-Yu buried her alongside the principal grave. Before long Hsiao's wife died, and Yu-Yu told Jen and Yi to accompany him to the house and condole with the widower; to which they both objected, saying, "He would not wear mourning for our mother; shall we do so for his wife?" Ultimately Yu-Yu had to go alone; and while he was pouring forth his lamentations beside the bier, he heard Jen and Yi playing drums and trumpets outside the door. Hsiao flew into a tremendous passion, and went after them with his own two brothers to give them a good thrashing. Yu-Yu, too, seized a big stick and accompanied them to the house where Jen and Yi were; whereupon Jen made his escape; but as Yi was clambering over the wall, Yu-Yu hit him from behind and knocked him down. Hsiao and the others then set upon him with their fists and sticks, and would never have stopped but that Yu-Yu interposed his body between them and made them desist. Hsiao was very angry at this, and began to abuse Yu-yu, who said, "The punishment was for want of decorum, for which death would be too severe. I can neither connive at their bad behaviour, nor at your cruelty. If your anger is not appeased, strike me." Hsiao now turned his fury against Yu-Yu, and being well seconded by his two brothers, they beat Yu-Yu until the neighbours separated them and put an end to the row. Yu-yu at once proceeded to Hsiao's house to apologize for what had occurred; but Hsiao drove him away, and would not let him take part in the funeral ceremonies. Meanwhile, as Yi's wounds were very severe, and he could neither eat nor drink, his brother Jen went on his behalf to the magistrate, stating in the petition that the accused had not worn mourning for their father's concubine. The magistrate issued a warrant; and, besides causing the arrest of Hsiao, Chung, and Hsin, he ordered Yu-Yu to prosecute them as well. Yu-Yu, however, was so much cut about the head and face that he could not appear in court, but he wrote out a petition, in which he begged that the case might be quashed; and this the magistrate consented to do. Yi soon got better, the feeling of hatred and resentment increasing in the family day by day; while Jen and Yi, who were younger than the others, complained to Yu-Yu of their recent punishment, saying, "The relationship of elder and younger brothers exists for others, why not for us?" "Ah," replied Yu-Yu, "that is what I might well say; not you." Yu-Yu then tried to persuade them to forget the past; but, not succeeding in his attempt, he shut up his house, and went off with his wife to live somewhere else, about twenty miles away. Now, although when Yu-Yu was among them he did not help the two younger ones, yet his presence acted as some restraint upon Hsiao and the other two; but now that he was gone their conduct was beyond all bounds. They sought out Jen and Yi in their own houses, and not only reviled them, but abused the memory of their dead mother, against which Jen and Yi could only retaliate by keeping the door shut against them. However, they determined to do them some injury, and carried knives about with them wherever they went for that purpose.

One day the eldest brother, Ch'eng, who had been carried off by the rebels, returned with his wife; and, after three days' deliberation, Hsiao and the other two determined that, as he had been so long separated from the family, he had no further claims upon them for house-room, &c. Jen and Yi were secretly delighted at this result, and at once inviting Ch'eng to stay with them, sent news of his arrival to Yu-Yu, who came back directly, and agreed with the others to hand over a share of the property to their elder brother. Hsiao and his clique were much enraged at this purchase of Ch'eng's good will, and, hurrying to their brothers' houses, assailed them with every possible kind of abuse. Ch'eng, who had long been accustomed to scenes of violence among the rebels, now got into a great passion, and cried out, "When I came home none of you would give me a place to live in. Only these younger ones recognised the ties of blood, and you would punish them for so doing. Do you think to drive me away?" Thereupon he threw a stone at Hsiao and knocked him down; and Jen and Yi rushed out with clubs and gave the three of them a severe thrashing. Ch'eng did not wait for them to lay a plaint, but set off to the magistrate on the spot, and preferred a charge against his three brothers. The magistrate, as before, sent for Yu-Yu to ask his opinion, and Yu-Yu had no alternative but to go, entering the yamen with downcast head, his tears flowing in silence all the while. The magistrate inquired of him how the matter stood; to which he replied only by begging His Honour to hear the case; which the magistrate accordingly did, deciding that the whole of the property was to be divided equally among the seven brothers. Thenceforth Jen and Yi became more and more attached to Ch'eng; and one day, in conversation, they happened to tell him the story of their mother's funeral. Ch'eng was exceedingly angry, and declared that such behaviour was that of brute beasts, proposing at the same time that the vault should be opened and that she should be re-buried in the proper place. Jen and Yi went off and told this to Yu-Yu, who immediately came and begged Ch'eng to desist from his scheme; to which, however, he paid no attention, and fixed a day for her interment in the family vault. He then built a hut near by, and, with a knife lopping the branches off the trees, informed the brothers that any of them who did not appear at the funeral in the usual mourning would be treated by him in a manner similar to the trees. So they were all obliged to go, and the obsequies were conducted in a fitting manner. The brothers were now at peace together, Ch'eng keeping them in first-rate order, and always treating Hsiao, Chung, and Hsin with much more severity than the others. To Yu-Yu he shewed a marked deference, and, whenever he was in a rage, would always be appeased by a word from him. Hsiao, too, was always going to Yu-Yu to complain of the treatment he received at Ch'eng's hands when he did anything that Ch'eng disapproved of; and then, if Yu-Yu quietly reproved him, he would be dissatisfied, so that at last Yu-Yu could stand it no longer, and again went away and took a house at a considerable distance, where he remained almost entirely cut off from the others. By the time two years had passed away Ch'eng had completely succeeded in establishing harmony amongst them, and quarrels were of rare occurrence. Hsiao was then forty-six years old, and had five sons; Chi-yeh and Chi-te, the first and third, by his wife; Chi-kung and Chi-Chi, the second and fourth, by a concubine; and Chi-tsu, by a slave. They were all grown up, and exactly imitated their father's former behaviour, banding themselves together one against the other, and so on, without their father being able to make them behave better. Chi-tsu had no brothers of his own, and, being the youngest, the others bullied him dreadfully; until at length, being on a visit to his wife's family, who lived not far from Yu-yü's house, he went slightly out of his way to call and see his uncle. There he found his three cousins living peaceably together and pursuing their studies, and was so pleased that he remained with them some time, and said not a word as to returning home. His uncle urged him to go back, but he entreated to be allowed to stay; and then his uncle told him it was not that he grudged his daily food: it was because his father and mother did not know where he was. Chi-tsu accordingly went home, and a few months afterwards, when he and his wife were on the point of starting to congratulate his wife's mother on the anniversary of her birthday, he explained to his father that he should not come home again. When his father asked him why not, he partly divulged his reasons for going; whereupon his father said he was afraid his uncle would bear malice for what happened in the past, and that he would not be able to remain there long. "Father," replied Chi-tsu, "uncle Yu-yü is a good and virtuous man." He set out with his wife, and when they arrived Yu-yü gave them separate quarters, and made Chi-tsu rank as one of his own sons, making him join the eldest, Chi-san, in his studies. Chi-tsu was a clever fellow, and now enrolled himself as a resident of the place where his uncle lived.

Meanwhile, his brothers went on quarrelling among themselves as usual; and one day Chi-kung, enraged at an insult offered to his mother, killed Chi-yeh. He was immediately thrown into prison, where he was severely bambooed, and in a few days he died. Chi-yeh's wife, whose maiden name was Feng, now spent the days of mourning in cursing her husband's murderer; and when Chi-kung's wife heard this, she flew into a towering passion, and said to her, "If your husband is dead, mine isn't alive!" She then drew a knife and killed her, completing the tragedy by herself committing suicide in a well

Mr. Feng, the father of the murdered woman, was very much distressed at his daughter's untimely end; and, taking with him several members of the family with arms concealed under their clothes, they proceeded to Hsiao's house, and there gave his wife a most terrific beating. It was now Ch'eng's turn to be angry. "The members of my family are dying like sheep," cried he; "what do you mean by this, Mr. Feng?" He then rushed out upon them with a roar, accompanied by all his own brothers and their sons; and the Feng family was utterly routed. Seizing old Feng himself, Ch'eng cut off both his ears; and when his son tried to rescue him, Chi-chi ran up and broke both his legs with an iron crowbar. Every one of the Feng family was badly wounded, and thus dispersed, leaving old Feng's son lying in the middle of the road. The others not knowing what to do with him, Ch'eng took him under his arm, and, having thrown him down in the Feng village, returned home, giving orders to Chi-chi to go immediately to the authorities and enter their plaint the first.

The Feng family had, however, anticipated them, and all the Tsengs were accordingly thrown into prison, except Chung, who managed to escape. He ran away to the place where Yu-Yu lived, and was pacing backwards and forwards before the door, afraid lest his brother should not have forgiven past offences, when suddenly Yu-Yu, with his son and nephew, arrived, on their return from the examination. "What do you want, my brother?" asked Yu-Yu; whereupon Chung prostrated himself at the roadside, and then Yu-Yu, seizing his hand, led him within to make further inquiries. "Alas! alas!" cried Yu-yu, when he had heard the story, "I knew that some dreadful calamity would be the result of all this wicked behaviour. But why have you come hither? I have been absent so long that I am no more acquainted with the local authorities; and if I now went to ask a favour of them, I should probably only be insulted for my pains. However, if none of the Feng family die of their wounds, and if we three may chance to be successful in our examination, something may perhaps be done to mitigate this calamity." Yu-Yu then kept Chung to dinner, and at night he shared their room, which kind treatment made him at once grateful and repentant. By the end of ten days he was so struck with the behaviour of the father, sons, uncle, nephew, and cousins, one toward the other, that he burst into tears, and said, "Now I know how badly I behaved in days gone by." His uncle was overjoyed at his repentance, and sympathised with his feelings, when suddenly it was announced that Yu-Yu and his son had both passed the examination for master's degree, and that Chi-tsu was proxime accessit. This delighted them all very much. They did not, however, attend the Fu-t'ai's congratulatory feast, but went off first to worship at the tombs of their ancestors.

Now, at the time of the Ming dynasty a man who had taken his master's degree was a very considerable personage, and the Fengs accordingly began to draw in their horns. Yu-Yu, too, met them half-way. He got a friend to convey to them presents of food and money to help them in recovering from their injuries, and thus the prosecution was withdrawn. Then all his brothers implored him with tears in their eyes to return home, and, after burning incense with them, and making them enter into a bond with him that by-gones should be by-gones, he acceded to their request Chi-tsu, how-ever, would not leave his uncle; and Hsiao himself said to Yu-Yu, "I don't deserve such a son as that. Keep him, and teach him as you have done hitherto, and let him be as one of your own children; but if at some future time he succeeds in his examination, then I will beg you to return him to me." Yu-Yu consented to this; and three years afterwards Chi-tsu did take his master's degree, upon which he sent him back to his own family.

Both husband and wife were very loth to leave their uncle's house, and they had hardly been at home three days before one of their children, only three years old, ran away and went back, returning to his great-uncle's as often as he was recaptured. This induced Hsiao to remove to the next house to Yu-Yu's, and, by opening a door between the two, they made one establishment of the whole. Ch'eng was now getting old, and the family affairs devolved entirely upon Yu-Yu, who managed things so well that their reputation for filial piety and fraternal love was soon spread tar and wide.

曾友于

曾翁,昆陽故家也。翁初死未殮,兩眶中淚出如瀋,有子六,莫解所以。次子悌,字友于,邑名士,以為不祥,戒諸兄弟各自惕,勿貽痛於先人;而兄弟半迂笑之。先是,翁嫡配生長子成,至七八歲,母子為強寇擄去。娶繼室,生三子:曰孝,曰忠,曰信。妾生三子:曰悌,曰仁,曰義。孝以悌等出身賤,鄙不齒,因連結忠、信為黨。即與客飲,悌等過堂下,亦傲不為禮。仁、義皆忿,與友于謀,欲相仇。友于百詞寬譬,不從所謀;而仁、義年最少,因兄言,亦遂止。孝有女,適邑周氏,病死。糾悌等往撻其姑,悌不從。孝憤然,令忠、信合族中無賴子,往捉周妻,搒掠無算,拋粟毀器,盎盂無存。周告官。官怒,拘孝等囚繫之,將行申黜。友于懼,見宰自投。友于品行,素為宰重,諸兄弟以是得無苦。友于乃詣周所負荊,周亦器重友于,訟遂止。孝歸,終不德友于。無何,友于母張夫人卒,孝等不為服,宴飲如故。仁、義益忿。友于曰:「此彼之無禮,於我何損焉。」及葬,把持墓門,不使合厝。友于乃瘞母隧道中。未幾,孝妻亡,友于招仁、義同往奔喪。二人曰:「『期』且不論,『功』于何有!」再勸之,鬨然散去。友于乃自往,臨哭盡哀。隔牆聞仁、義鼓且吹,孝怒,糾諸弟往毆之。友于操杖先從。入其家,仁覺先逃。義方踰垣,友于自後擊仆之。孝等拳杖交加,毆不止。友于橫身障阻之。孝怒,讓友于。友于曰:「責之者,以其無禮也,然罪固不至死。我不怙弟惡,亦不助兄暴。如怒不解,身代之。」孝遂反杖撻友于,忠、信亦相助毆兄,聲震里黨,群集勸解,乃散去。友于即扶杖詣兄請罪。孝逐去之,不令居喪次。而義創甚,不復食飲。仁代具詞訟官,訴其不為庶母行服。官簽拘孝、忠、信,而令友于陳狀。友于以面目損傷,不能詣署,但作詞稟白,哀求寢息,宰遂銷案。義亦尋愈。由是仇怨益深。仁、義皆幼弱,輒被敲楚。怨友于曰:「人皆有兄弟,我獨無!」友于曰:「此兩語,我宜言之,兩弟何云!」因苦勸之,卒不聽。友于遂扃戶,攜妻子借寓他所,離家五十餘里,冀不相聞。友于在家,雖不助弟,而孝等尚稍有顧忌;既去,諸兄一不當,輒叫罵其門,辱侵母諱。仁、義度不能抗,惟杜門思乘間刺殺之,行則懷刃。一日,寇所掠長兄成,忽攜婦亡歸。諸兄弟以家久析,聚謀三日,竟無處可以置之。仁、義竊喜,招去共養之。往告友于。友于喜,歸,共出田宅居成。諸兄怒其市惠,登門窘辱。而成久在寇中,習於威猛,大怒曰:「我歸,更無人肯置一屋;幸三弟念手足,又罪責之。是欲逐我耶!」以石投孝,孝仆。仁、義各以杖出,捉忠、信,撻無數。成乃訟宰,宰又使人請教友于。友于詣宰,俛首不言,但有流涕。宰問之,曰:「惟求公斷。」宰乃判孝等各出田產歸成,使七分相準。自此仁、義與成倍加愛敬,談及葬母事,因並泣下。成恚曰:「如此不仁,真禽獸也!」遂欲啟壙,更為改葬。仁奔告友于,友于急歸諫止。成不聽,刻期發墓,作齋於塋。以刀削樹,謂諸弟曰:「所不衰麻相從者,有如此樹!」眾唯唯。於是一門皆哭臨,安厝盡禮。自此兄弟相安。而成性剛烈,輒批撻諸弟,於孝尤甚。惟重友于,雖盛怒,友于至,一言即解。孝有所行,成輒不平之,故孝無一日不至友于所,潛對友于詬詛。友于婉諫,卒不納。友于不堪其擾,又遷居三泊,去家益遠,音跡遂疏。又二年,諸弟皆畏成,久而相習。而孝年四十六,生五子:長繼業,三繼德,嫡出;次繼功,四繼績,庶出;又婢生繼祖。皆成立。效父舊行,各為黨,日相競,孝亦不能呵止。惟祖無兄弟,年又最幼,諸兄皆得而詬厲之。岳家近三泊,會詣岳,迂道詣叔。入門,見叔家兩兄一弟,絃誦怡怡,樂之,久居不言歸。叔促之,哀求寄居。叔曰:「汝父母皆不知,我豈惜甌飯瓢飲乎!」乃歸。過數月,夫妻往壽岳母。告父曰:「兒此行不歸矣。」父詰之,因吐微隱。父慮與叔有夙隙,計難久居。祖曰:「父慮過矣。二叔,聖賢也。」遂去,攜妻之三泊。友于除舍居之,以齒兒行,使執卷從長子繼善。祖最慧,寄籍三泊年餘,入雲南郡庠。與善閉戶研讀,祖又諷誦最苦。友于甚愛之。自祖居三泊,家中兄弟益不相能。一日,微反脣,業詬辱庶母。功怒,刺殺業。官收功,重械之,數日死獄中。業妻馮氏,猶日以罵代哭。功妻劉聞之,怒曰:「汝家男子死,誰家男子活耶!」操刀入,擊殺馮,自投井死。馮父大立,悼女死慘,率諸子弟,藏兵衣底,往捉孝妻,裸撻道上以辱之。成怒曰:「我家死人如麻,馮氏何得復爾!」吼奔而出。諸曾從之,諸馮盡靡。成首捉大立,割其兩耳。其子護救,繼、績以鐵杖橫擊,折其兩股。諸馮各被夷傷,鬨然盡散。惟馮子猶臥道周。成夾之以肘,置諸馮村而還。遂呼績詣官自首。馮狀亦至。於是諸曾被收。惟忠亡去,至三泊,徘徊門外。適友于率一子一姪鄉試歸,見忠,驚曰:「弟何來?」忠未語先淚,長跪道左。友于握手曳入,詰得其情,大驚曰:「似此奈何!然一門乖戾,逆知奇禍久矣;不然,我何以竄蹟至此。但我離家久,與大令無聲氣之通,今即蒲伏而往,徒取辱耳。但得馮父子傷重不死,吾三人中倖有捷者,則此禍或可少解。」乃留之,晝與同餐,夜與共寢。忠頗感愧。居十餘日,見其叔姪如父子,兄弟如同胞,悽然下淚曰:「今始知從前非人也。」友于喜其悔悟,相對酸惻。俄報友于父子同科,祖亦副榜。大喜。不赴鹿鳴,先歸展墓。明季科甲最重,諸馮皆為斂息。友于乃託親友賂以金粟,資其醫藥,訟乃息。舉家泣感友于,求其復歸。友于乃與兄弟焚香約誓,俾各滌慮自新,遂移家還。祖從叔不卻歸其家。孝乃謂友于曰:「我不德,不應有亢宗之子;弟又善教,俾姑為汝子。有寸進時,可賜還也。」友于從之。又三年,祖果舉於鄉。使移家去,夫妻皆痛哭而去。不數日,祖有子方三歲,亡歸友于家,藏繼善室,不肯返;捉去輒逃。孝乃令祖異居,與友于鄰。祖開戶通叔家。兩間定省如一焉。時成漸老,家事皆取決於友于。從此門庭雍穆,稱孝友焉。
  異史氏曰:「天下惟禽獸止知母而不知父,奈何詩書之家,往往而蹈之也!夫門內之行,其漸漬子孫者,直入骨髓。古云:其父盜,子必行劫,其流弊然也。孝雖不仁,其報亦慘;而卒能自知乏德,託子於弟,宜其有操心慮患之子也。──若論果報猶迂也。」

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Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was