Skip to main content

The Boatmen Of Laolung.

WHEN His Excellency Chu was Viceroy of Kuangtung, there were constant complaints from the traders of mysterious disappearances; sometimes as many as three or four of them disappearing at once and never being seen or heard of again. At length the number of such cases, filed of course against some person or persons unknown, multiplied to such an extent that they were simply put on record, and but little notice was further taken of them by the local officials. Thus, when His Excellency entered upon his duties, he found more than a hundred plaints of the kind, besides innumerable cases in which the missing man’s relatives lived at a distance and had not instituted proceedings. The mystery so preyed upon the new Viceroy’s mind that he lost all appetite for food; and when, finally, all the inquiries he had set on foot resulted in no clue to an elucidation of these strange disappearances, then His Excellency proceeded to wash and purify himself, and, having notified the Municipal God, he took to fasting and sleeping in his study alone. While he was in ecstasy, lo! an official entered, holding a tablet in his hand, and said that he had come from the Municipal temple with the following instructions to the Viceroy:—

“Snow on the whiskers descending:
Live clouds falling from heaven:
Wood in water buoyed up:
In the wall an opening effected.”

The official then retired, and the Viceroy waked up; but it was only after a night of tossing and turning that he hit upon what seemed to him the solution of the enigma. “The first line,” argued he, “must signify old (lao in Chinese); the second refers to the dragon (lung in Chinese); the third is clearly a boat; and the fourth a door here taken in its secondary sense—man.” Now, to the east of the province, not far from the pass by which traders from the north connect their line of trade with the southern seas, there was actually a ferry known as the Old Dragon (Laolung); and thither the Viceroy immediately despatched a force to arrest those employed in carrying people backwards and forwards. More than fifty men were caught, and they all confessed at once without the application of torture. In fact, they were bandits under the guise of boatmen; and after beguiling passengers on board, they would either drug them or burn stupefying incense until they were senseless, finally cutting them open and putting a large stone inside to make the body sink. Such was the horrible story, the discovery of which brought throngs to the Viceroy’s door to serenade him in terms of gratitude and praise.

老龍舡戶

朱公徽蔭巡撫粵東時,往來商旅,多告無頭冤狀。千里行人,死不見尸,數客同遊,全無音信,積案纍纍,莫可究詰。初告,有司尚發牒行緝;迨投狀既多,竟置不問。公蒞任,歷稽舊案,狀中稱死者不下百餘,其千里無主者,更不知凡幾。公駭異惻怛,籌思廢寢。遍訪僚屬,迄少方略。於是潔誠熏沐,致檄城隍之神。已而齋寢,恍惚見一官僚,搢笏而入。問:「何官?」答云:「城隍劉某。」「將何言?」曰:「鬢邊垂雪,天際生雲,水中漂木,壁上安門。」言已而退。既醒,隱謎不解。輾轉終宵,忽悟曰:「垂雪者,老也;生雲者,龍也;水上木為舡;壁上門為戶:豈非『老龍舡戶』耶!」蓋省之東北,曰小嶺、曰藍關,源自老龍津,以達南海,嶺外巨商,每由此入粵。公遣武弁,密授機謀,捉龍津駕舟者,次第擒獲五十餘名,皆不械而服。蓋此等賊以舟渡為名,賺客登舟,或投蒙藥,或燒悶香,致客沉迷不醒;而後剖腹納石,以沉水底。冤慘極矣!自昭雪後,遐邇懽騰,謠頌成集焉。
  異史氏曰:「剖腹沉石,慘冤已甚,而木雕之有司,絕不少關痛癢豈特粵東之暗無天日哉!公至則鬼神效靈,覆盆俱照,何其異哉!然公非有四目兩口,不過痌瘝之念,積於中者至耳。彼巍巍然,出則刀戟橫路,入則蘭麝熏心,尊優雖至,究何異於老龍舡戶哉!」

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