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The Butterfly’s Revenge.

MR. WANG, of Ch‘angshan, was in the habit, when a District Magistrate, of commuting the fines and penalties of the Penal Code, inflicted on the various prisoners, for a corresponding number of butterflies. These he would let go all at once in the court, rejoicing to see them fluttering hither and thither, like so many tinsel snippings borne about by the breeze. One night he dreamt that a young lady, dressed in gay coloured clothes, appeared to him and said, “Your cruel practice has brought many of my sisters to an untimely end, and now you shall pay the penalty of thus gratifying your tastes.” The young lady then changed into a butterfly and flew away. Next day, the magistrate was sitting alone, over a cup of wine, when it was announced to him that the censor was at the door; and out he ran at once to receive His Excellency, with a white flower, that some of his women had put in his official hat, still sticking there. His Excellency was very angry at what he deemed a piece of disrespect to himself; and, after severely censuring Mr. Wang, turned round and went away. Thenceforward no more penalties were commuted for butterflies.

放蝶

長山王進士㞳生為令時,每聽訟,按律之輕重,罰令納蝶自贖;堂上千百齊放,如風飄碎錦,王乃拍案大笑。一夜,夢一女子,衣裳華好,從容而入,曰:「遭君虐政,姊妹多物故。當使君先受風流之小譴耳。」言已,化為蝶,迴翔而去。明日,方獨酌署中,忽報直指使至,皇遽而出,閨中戲以素花簪冠上,忘除之。直指見之,以為不恭,大受詬罵而返。由是罰蝶之令遂止。
  青城于重寅,性放誕。為司理時,元夕以火花爆竹縛驢上,首尾並滿,牽登太守之門,擊柝而請,自白:「某獻火驢,幸出一覽。」時太守有愛子患痘,心緒方惡,辭之。于固請之。太守不得已,使閽人啟鑰。門甫闢,于火發機,推驢入。爆震驢驚,踶趹狂奔;又飛火射人,人莫敢近。驢穿堂入室,破甌毀甑,火觸成塵,窗紗都燼。家人大譁。痘兒驚陷,終夜而死。太守痛恨,將揭劾之。于浼諸司道,登堂負荊,乃免。

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