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Mr. Willow And The Locusts.

DURING the Ming dynasty a plague of locusts visited Ch‘ingyen, and was advancing rapidly towards the I district, when the magistrate of that place, in great tribulation at the pending disaster, retired one day to sleep behind the screen in his office. There he dreamt that a young graduate, named Willow, wearing a tall hat and a green robe, and of very commanding stature, came to see him, and declared that he could tell the magistrate how to get rid of the locusts. “Tomorrow,” said he, “on the southwest road, you will see a woman riding on a large jennet: she is the Spirit of the Locusts; ask her, and she will help you.” The magistrate thought this strange advice; however, he got everything ready, and waited, as he had been told, at the roadside. By-and-by, along came a woman with her hair tied up in a knot, and a serge cape over her shoulders, riding slowly northwards on an old mule; whereupon the magistrate burned some sticks of incense, and, seizing the mule’s bridle, humbly presented a goblet of wine. The woman asked him what he wanted; to which he replied, “Lady, I implore you to save my small magistracy from the dreadful ravages of your locusts.” “Oho!” said the woman, “that scoundrel, Willow, has been letting the cat out of the bag, has he? He shall suffer for it: I won’t touch your crops.” She then drank three cups of wine, and vanished out of sight. Subsequently, when the locusts did come, they flew high in the air, and did not settle on the crops; but they stripped the leaves off every willow tree far and wide; and then the magistrate awaked to the fact that the graduate of his dream was the Spirit of the Willows. Some said that this happy result was owing to the magistrate’s care for the welfare of his people.

柳秀才

明季,蝗生青兗間,漸集于沂,沂令憂之。退臥署幕,夢一秀才來謁,峨冠綠衣,狀貌修偉,自言御蝗有策。詢之,答云:「明日西南道上有婦跨碩腹牝驢子,蝗神也。哀之,可免。」令異之。治具出邑南。伺良久,果有婦高髻褐帔,獨控老蒼衛,緩蹇北度。即爇香,捧卮酒,迎拜道左,捉驢不令去。婦問:「大夫將何為?」令便哀求:「區區小治,幸憫脫蝗口。」婦曰:「可恨柳秀才饒舌,泄我密機!當即以其身受,不損禾稼可耳。」乃盡三卮,瞥不復見。
后蝗來飛蔽天日,竟不落禾田,盡集楊柳,過處柳葉都盡。方悟秀才柳神也。或云:「是宰官憂民所感。」誠然哉!

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