Skip to main content

Metempsychosis.

MR. LIN, who took his master’s degree in the same year as the late Mr. Wên Pi, could remember what had happened to him in his previous state of existence, and once told the whole story, as follows:—I was originally of a good family, but, after leading a very dissolute life, I died at the age of sixty-two. On being conducted into the presence of the King of Purgatory, he received me civilly, bade me be seated, and offered me a cup of tea. I noticed, however, that the tea in His Majesty’s cup was clear and limpid, while that in my own was muddy, like the lees of wine. It then flashed across me that this was the potion which was given to all disembodied spirits to render them oblivious of the past: and, accordingly, when the King was looking the other way, I seized the opportunity of pouring it under the table, pretending afterwards that I had drunk it all up. My record of good and evil was now presented for inspection, and when the King saw what it was, he flew into a great passion, and ordered the attendant devils to drag me away, and send me back to earth as a horse. I was immediately seized and bound, and the devils carried me off to a house, the doorsill of which was so high I could not step over it. While I was trying to do so, the devils behind lashed me with all their might, causing me such pain that I made a great spring, and—lo and behold! I was a horse in a stable. “The mare has got a nice colt,” I then heard a man call out; but, although I was perfectly aware of all that was passing, I could say nothing myself. Hunger now came upon me, and I was glad to be suckled by the mare; and by the end of four or five years I had grown into a fine strong horse, dreadfully afraid of the whip, and running away at the very sight of it. When my master rode me, it was always with a saddlecloth, and at a leisurely pace, which was bearable enough; but when the servants mounted me bare backed, and dug their heels into me, the pain struck into my vitals; and at length I refused all food, and in three days I died. Reappearing before the King of Purgatory, His Majesty was enraged to find that I had thus tried to shirk working out my time; and, flaying me forthwith, condemned me to go back again as a dog. And when I did not move, the devils came behind me and lashed me until I ran away from them into the open country, where, thinking I had better die right off, I jumped over a cliff, and lay at the bottom unable to move. I then saw that I was among a litter of puppies, and that an old bitch was licking and suckling me by turns; whereby I knew that I was once more among mortals. In this hateful form I continued for some time, longing to kill myself, and yet fearing to incur the penalty of shirking. At length, I purposely bit my master in the leg, and tore him badly; whereupon he had me destroyed, and I was taken again into the presence of the King, who was so displeased with my vicious behaviour that he condemned me to become a snake, and shut me up in a dark room, where I could see nothing. After a while I managed to climb up the wall, bore a hole in the roof, and escape; and immediately I found myself lying in the grass, a veritable snake. Then I registered a vow that I would harm no living thing, and I lived for some years, feeding upon berries and such like, ever remembering neither to take my own life, nor by injuring any one to incite them to take it, but longing all the while for the happy release, which did not come to me. One day, as I was sleeping in the grass, I heard the noise of a passing cart, and, on trying to get across the road out of its way, I was caught by the wheel, and cut in two. The King was astonished to see me back so soon, but I humbly told my story, and, in pity for the innocent creature that loses its life, he pardoned me, and permitted me to be born again at my appointed time as a human being.
Such was Mr. Lin’s story. He could speak as soon as he came into the world; and could repeat anything he had once read. In the year 1621 he took his master’s degree, and was never tired of telling people to put saddlecloths on their horses, and recollect that the pain of being gripped by the knees is even worse than the lash itself.

三生

劉孝廉,能記前身事。與先文賁兄為同年,嘗歷歷言之:一世為晉紳,行多玷。六十二歲而歿。初見冥王,待如鄉先生禮,賜坐,飲以茶。覷冥王盞中,茶色清澈;己盞中,濁如醪。暗疑迷魂湯得勿此耶?乘冥王他顧,以盞就案角瀉之,偽為盡者。俄頃,稽前生惡錄;怒,命群鬼卒下,罰作馬。即有厲鬼縶去。行至一家,門限甚高,不可逾。方趑趄間,鬼力楚之,痛甚而蹶。自顧,則身已在櫪下矣。但聞人曰:「驪馬生駒矣,牡也。」心甚明瞭,但不能言。覺大餒,不得已,就牝馬求乳。逾四五年,體修偉。甚畏撻楚,見鞭則懼而逸。主人騎,必覆障泥,緩轡徐徐,猶不甚苦;惟奴仆圉人,不加韉裝以行,兩踝夾擊,痛徹心腑。於是憤甚,三日不食,遂死。
  至冥司,冥王查其罰限未滿,責其規避,剝其皮革,罰為犬。意懊喪,不欲行。群鬼亂撻之,痛極而竄于野。自念不如死,憤投絕壁,顛,莫能起。自顧,則身伏竇中,牝犬舐而腓字之,乃知身已復生于人世矣。稍長,見便液亦知穢;然嗅之而香,但立念不食耳。為犬經年,常忿欲死,又恐罪其規避。而主人又豢養,不肯戮。乃故嚙主人,脫股肉。主人怒,杖殺之。
  冥王鞫狀,怒其狂猘,笞數百,俾作蛇。囚于幽室,暗不見天。悶甚,緣壁而上,穴屋而出。自視,則伏身茂草,居然蛇矣。遂矢志不殘生類,飢吞木實。積年余,每思自盡不可,害人而死又不可;欲求一善死之策而未得也。一日,臥草中,聞車過,遽出當路;車馳壓之,斷為兩。
  冥王訝其速至,因蒲伏自剖。冥王以無罪見殺,原之,准其滿限復為人,是為劉公。公生而能言,文章書史,過輒成誦。辛酉舉孝廉。每勸人:乘馬必厚其障泥;股夾之刑,勝于鞭楚也。
  異史氏曰:「毛角之儔,乃有王公大人在其中;所以然者,王公大人之內,原未必無毛角者在其中也。故賤者為善,如求花而種其樹;貴者為善,如已花而培其本:種者可大,培者可久。不然,且將負鹽車,受羈馽,與之為馬;不然,且將啖便液,受烹割,與之為犬;又不然,且將披鱗介,葬鶴鸛,與之為蛇。」

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 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