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The Forty Strings Of Cash.

MR. JUSTICE WANG had a steward, who was possessed of considerable means. One night the latter dreamt that a man rushed in and said to him, “Today you must repay me those forty strings of cash.” The steward asked who he was; to which the man made no answer, but hurried past him into the women’s apartments. When the steward awoke, he found that his wife had been delivered of a son; and, knowing at once that retribution was at hand, he set aside forty strings of cash to be spent solely in food, clothes, medicines, and so on, for the baby. By the time the child was between three and four years old, the steward found that of the forty strings only about seven hundred cash remained; and when the wet-nurse, who happened to be standing by, brought the child and dandled it in her arms before him, he looked at it and said, “The forty strings are all but repaid; it is time you were off again.” Thereupon the child changed colour; its head fell back, and its eyes stared fixedly, and, when they tried to revive it, lo! respiration had already ceased. The father then took the balance of the forty strings, and with it defrayed the child’s funeral expenses—truly a warning to people to be sure and pay their debts.
Formerly, an old childless man consulted a great many Buddhist priests on the subject. One of them said to him, “If you owe no one anything, and no one owes you anything, how can you expect to have children? A good son is the repayment of a former debt; a bad son is a dunning creditor, at whose birth there is no rejoicing, at whose death no lamentations.”

四十千

新城王大司馬,有主計仆,家稱素封。忽夢一人奔入,曰:「汝欠四十千,今宜還矣。」問之,不答,徑入內去。既醒,妻產男。知為夙孽,遂以四十千捆置一室,凡兒衣食病藥,皆取給焉。過三四歲,視室中錢,僅存七百。適乳姥抱兒至,調笑于側。因呼之曰:「四十千將盡,如宜行矣。」言已,兒忽顏色蹙變,項折目張。再撫之,氣已絕矣。乃以余資置葬具而瘞之。此可為負欠者戒也。
  昔有老而無子者,問諸高僧。僧曰:「汝不欠人者,人又不欠汝者,烏得子?」蓋生佳兒,所以報我之緣;生頑兒,所以取我之債。生者勿喜,死者勿悲也。

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