A CERTAIN trader who was travelling in the province of Chihli, being overtaken by a storm of rain and hail, took shelter among some standing crops by the wayside. There he heard a voice from heaven, saying, “These are Chang Puliang’s fields; do not injure his crops.” The trader began to wonder who this Chang Puliang could be, and how, if he was pu liang (not virtuous), he came to be under divine protection; so when the storm was over and he had reached the neighbouring village, he made enquiries on the subject, and told the people there what he had heard. The villagers then informed him that Chang Puliang was a very wealthy farmer, who was accustomed every spring to make loans of grain to the poor of the district, and who was not too particular about getting back the exact amount he had lent,—taking, in fact, whatever they brought him without discussion; hence the sobriquet of pu liang “no measure” (i.e., the man who doesn’t measure the repayments of his loans). After that, they all proceeded in a body to the fields, where it was discovered that vast damage had been done to the crops generally, with the exception of Chang Puliang’s, which had escaped uninjured.
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