Skip to main content

Courage Tested.

MR. TUNG was a Hsüchou man, very fond of playing broadsword, and a light-hearted, devil-may-care fellow, who was often involving himself in trouble. One day he fell in with a traveller who was riding on a mule and going the same way as himself; whereupon they entered into conversation, and began to talk to each other about feats of strength and so on. The traveller said his name was T‘ung, and that he belonged to Liaoyang; that he had been twenty years away from home, and had just returned from beyond the sea. “And I venture to say,” cried Tung, “that in your wanderings on the Four Seas you have seen a great many people; but have you seen any supernaturally clever ones?” T‘ung asked him to what he alluded; and then Tung explained what his own particular hobby was, adding how much he would like to learn from them any tricks in the art of broadsword. “Supernatural,” replied the traveller, “are to be found everywhere. It needs but that a man should be a loyal subject and a filial son for him to know all that the super naturals know.” “Right you are, indeed!” cried Tung, as he drew a short sword from his belt, and, tapping the blade with his fingers, began to accompany it with a song. He then cut down a tree that was by the wayside, to shew T‘ung how sharp it was; at which T‘ung smoothed his beard and smiled, begging to be allowed to have a look at the weapon. Tung handed it to him, and, when he had turned it over two or three times, he said, “This is a very inferior piece of steel; now, though I know nothing about broadsword myself, I have a weapon which is really of some use.” He then drew from beneath his coat a sword of a foot or so in length, and with it he began to pare pieces off Tung’s sword, which seemed as soft as a melon, and which he cut quite away like a horse’s hoof. Tung was greatly astonished, and borrowed the other’s sword to examine it, returning it after carefully wiping the blade. He then invited T‘ung to his house, and made him stay the night; and, after begging him to explain the mystery of his sword, began to nurse his leg and sit listening respectfully without saying a word. It was already pretty late, when suddenly there was a sound of scuffling next door, where Tung’s father lived; and, on putting his ear to the wall, he heard an angry voice saying, “Tell your son to come here at once, and then I will spare you.” This was followed by other sounds of beating and a continued groaning, in a voice which Tung knew to be his father’s. He therefore seized a spear, and was about to rush forth, but T‘ung held him back, saying, “You’ll be killed for a certainty if you go. Let us think of some other plan.” Tung asked what plan he could suggest; to which the other replied, “The robbers are killing your father: there is no help for you; but as you have no brothers, just go and tell your wife and children what your last wishes are, while I try and rouse the servants.” Tung agreed to this, and ran in to tell his wife, who clung to him and implored him not to go, until at length all his courage had ebbed away, and he went upstairs with her to get his bow and arrows ready to resist the robbers’ attack. At that juncture he heard the voice of his friend T‘ung, outside on the eaves of the house, saying, with a laugh, “All right; the robbers have gone;” but on lighting a candle, he could see nothing of him. He then stole out to the front door, where he met his father with a lantern in his hand, coming in from a party at a neighbour’s house; and the whole courtyard was covered with the ashes of burnt grass, whereby he knew that T‘ung the traveller was himself a supernatural.

佟客

董生,徐州人。好擊劍,每慷慨自負。偶於途中遇一客,跨蹇同行。與之語,談吐豪邁。詰其姓字,云:「遼陽佟姓。」問:「何往?」曰:「余出門二十年,適自海外歸耳。」董曰:「君遨遊四海,閱人綦多,曾見異人否?佟曰:「異人何等?」董乃自述所好,恨不得異人之傳。佟曰:「異人何地無之,要必忠臣孝子,始得傳其術也。」董又毅然自許;即出佩劍,彈之而歌;又斬路側小樹,以矜其利。佟掀髯微笑,因便借觀。董授之。展玩一過,曰:「此甲鐵所鑄,為汗臭所蒸,最為下品。僕雖未聞劍術,然有一劍,頗可用。」遂於衣底出短刃尺許,以削董劍,脆如瓜瓠,應手斜斷,如馬蹄。董駭極,亦請過手,再三拂拭而後返之。邀佟至家,堅留信宿。叩以劍法,謝不知。董按膝雄談,惟敬聽而已。更既深,忽聞隔院紛拏。隔院為生父居,心驚疑。近壁凝聽,但聞人作怒聲曰:「教汝子速出即刑,便赦汝!」少頃,似加搒掠,呻吟不絕者,真其父也。生捉戈欲往。佟止之曰:「此去恐無生理,宜審萬全。」生皇然請教。佟曰:「盜坐名相索,必將甘心焉。君無他骨肉,宜囑後事於妻子;我啟戶,為君警廝僕。」生諾,入告其妻。妻牽衣泣。生壯念頓消,遂共登樓上,尋弓覓矢,以備盜攻。倉皇未已,聞佟在樓簷上笑曰:「賊幸去矣。」燭之已杳。逡巡出,則見翁赴鄰飲,籠燭方歸;惟庭前多編菅遺灰焉。乃知佟異人也。
  異史氏曰:「忠孝,人之血性;古來臣子而不能死君父者,其初豈遂無提戈壯往時哉,要皆一轉念誤之耳。昔解縉與方孝孺相約以死,而卒食其言;安知矢約歸後,不聽床頭人嗚泣哉?邑有快役某,每數日不歸,妻遂與里中無賴通。一日歸,值少年自房中出,大疑,苦詰妻。妻不服。既於床頭得少年遺物,妻窘無詞,惟長跪哀乞。某怒甚,擲以繩,逼令自縊。妻請妝服而死,許之。妻乃入室理妝,某自酌以待之,呵叱頻催。俄妻炫服出,含涕拜曰:『君果忍令奴死耶?』某盛氣咄之。妻返走入房,方將結帶,某擲盞呼曰:『咍,返矣!一頂綠頭巾,或不能壓人死耳。』遂為夫婦如初。此亦大紳者類也,一笑。」

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

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 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

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