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Feasting The Ruler Of Purgatory.

AT Chinghai there lived a young man, named Shao, whose family was very poor. On the occasion of his mother completing her cycle, he arranged a quantity of meat offerings and wine on a table in the courtyard, and proceeded to invoke the Gods in the usual manner; but when he rose from his knees, lo and behold! all the meat and wine had disappeared. His mother thought this was a bad omen, and that she was not destined to enjoy a long life; however, she said nothing on the subject to her son, who was himself quite at a loss to account for what had happened. A short time afterwards the Literary Chancellor arrived; and young Shao, scraping together what funds he could, went off to present himself as a candidate. On the road he met with a man who gave him such a cordial invitation to his house that he willingly accepted; and the stranger led him to a stately mansion, with towers and terraces rising one above the other as far as the eye could reach. In one of the apartments was a king, sitting upon a throne, who received Shao in a very friendly manner; and, after regaling him with an excellent banquet, said, “I have to thank you for the food and drink you gave my servants that day we passed your house.” Shao was greatly astonished at this remark, when the King proceeded, “I am the Ruler of Purgatory. Don’t you recollect sacrificing on your mother’s birthday?” The King then bestowed on Shao a packet of silver, saying, “Pray accept this in return for your kindness.” Shao thanked him and retired; and in another moment the palace and its occupants had one and all vanished from his sight, leaving him alone in the midst of some tall trees. On opening his packet he found it to contain five ounces of pure gold; and, after defraying the expenses of his examination, half was still left, which he carried home and gave to his mother.

閻羅宴

靜海邵生,家貧。值母初度,備牲酒祀於庭;拜已而起,則案上肴饌皆空。甚駭,以情告母。母疑其困乏不能為壽,故詭言之,邵默然無以自白。無何,學使案臨,苦無資斧,薄貸而往。途遇一人,伏候道左,邀請甚殷。從去。見殿閣樓臺,彌亙街路。既入,一王者坐殿上。邵伏拜。王者霽顏命坐,即賜宴飲。因曰:「前過華居,廝僕輩道路飢渴,有叨盛饌。」邵愕然不解。王者曰:「我忤官王也。不記尊堂設帨之辰乎?」筵終,出白鏹一裹,曰:「豚蹄之擾,聊以相報。」受之而出,則宮殿人物,一時都渺;惟有大樹數章,蕭然道側。視所贈,則真金,秤之得五兩。考終,止耗其半,猶懷歸以奉母焉。

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