TWO Buddhist priests having arrived from the West, one went to the Wut‘ai hill, while the other hung up his staff at T‘aishan. Their clothes, complexions, language, and features, were very different from those of our country. They further said they had crossed the Fiery Mountains, from the peaks of which smoke was always issuing as from the chimney of a furnace; that they could only travel after rain, and that excessive caution was necessary to avoid displacing any stone and thus giving a vent to the flames. They also stated that they had passed through the River of Sand, in the middle of which was a crystal hill with perpendicular sides and perfectly transparent; and that there was a defile just broad enough to admit a single cart, its entrance guarded by two dragons with crossed horns. Those who wished to pass prostrated themselves before these dragons, and on receiving permission to enter, the horns opened and let them through. The dragons were of a white colour, and their scales and bristles seemed to be of crystal. Eighteen winters and summers these priests had been on the road; and of twelve who started from the west together, only two reached China. These two said that in their country four of our mountains are held in great esteem, namely, T‘ai, Hua, Wut‘ai, and Lochia. The people there also think that China is paved with yellow gold, that Kuanyin and Wênshu are still alive, and that they have only come here to be sure of their Buddhahood and of immortal life. Hearing these words it struck me that this was precisely what our own people say and think about the West; and that if travellers from each country could only meet half way and tell each other the true state of affairs, there would be some hearty laughter on both sides, and a saving of much unnecessary trouble.
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