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Showing posts from December, 2016

The-Devils-Of-The-Ocean 外國人

In the twenty-second year of the period Eternal-happiness, the population of Chao-cheou's harbour, awaking on a bright summer's morning, were extremely surprised and frightened to see, swaying on the blue water of the bay, a strange and abnormally huge ship. The three high masts were heavily loaded with transversal pieces of wood, from some of which sails were still hanging; another mast projected horizontally from the prow, and three sails were tightened from this to the foremast. A small boat was lowered from the ship's side and rowed to the quay. Several hundreds of people were watching the proceedings, asking one another if it was a human invention or a ship coming from the depths of hell. The small boat stopped at a short distance from the bank; one could see that, beside the rowers, there were three men seated in the stern; their heads were covered with extraordinarily long and fluffy grey hair; they wore big hats with feathers of many colours. A Chinaman was in the

The Spirit Of The River 王六郎

In a small village along the river Tsz lived a fisherman named Siu. He started every night with his nets, and took very great care not to forget to bring with him a small jar of spirits. Before throwing his cast-net, he drank a small cup of the fragrant liquor and poured some drops into the slow current, praying aloud: "O Spirit-of-the-river, please accept these offerings and favour your humble servant. I am poor and I must take some of the fishes that live in your cold kingdom. Don't be angry against me and don't prevent the eels and trouts coming to me!" When every fisherman on the river brought back only one basket of fishes, he always proudly bore home a heavy charge of two or three baskets full to the brim. Once, on a rosy dawn of early spring, when the sun, still below the horizon, began to eat with its golden teeth the vanishing darkness, he said aloud: "O Spirit-of-the-river! For many years, every night I have drunk with you a good number of wine-cups

The Mysterious Island 海公子

In the beautiful Chu-san archipelago there is a small island where the flowers never cease blooming, and where the trees grow thick and high. From the most remote antiquity nobody has been known to live in the shade of this virgin forest; the ferns, the creepers, are so entangled that it is impossible for a man to cross this wilderness without clearing his way with a hatchet. A young student named Chang, who lived in the City-over-the-sea, used to rest himself from his daily labour by going out to sea in a small junk he managed himself. Having heard of the mysterious island, he resolved to explore it, prepared wine and food, and sailed out on a beautiful summer's morning. Towards midday he neared the place where the island was supposed to be. Soon a delicious perfume of flowers was brought to him by the hot breeze. He saw the dark green of the trees over the light green of the sea, and, when still nearer, the yellow sand of the beach, where he resolved to disembark. The junk to

The River Of Sorrows 王十

Along the path leading to the city of All-virtues, in the obscure night, a poor coolie, grumbling under a heavy load of salt, was trudging on as fast as he could. "I shall never get there before the hour of the Rat, and my wife will say again; 'Wang The-tenth has drunk too many cups of wine.' She does not know the weight of that stuff!" As he was thus thinking, two men suddenly jumped from either side of the road and held him by the arms. "What do you want?" cried the poor man. "I am only an unhappy carrier, and my load is only salt, very common salt." "We don't want your salt, and you had better throw it down. We are sent from the Regions below and we want you to come down with us." "Am I dead already?" asked The-tenth. "I did not know. I must tell my wife. Can't you come again to-morrow night?" "Impossible to wait. You must come immediately. But I don't think you are dead. It is only to work fo

Through Many Lives 汪可受

Some people remember every incident of their former existences; it is a fact which many examples can prove. Other people do not forget what they learned before they died and were born again, but remember only confusedly what they were in a precedent life. Wang The-acceptable, of the Yellow-peach-blossom city, when people discussed such questions before him, used to narrate the experience he had had with his first son. The boy, at the time he spoke of, was three or four years old. He did not say many words, and some people thought he was dumb. One day, The-acceptable was writing a letter, when he was disturbed by a friend. He put his writing-brush down on the table and left the room. When he came back, his letter was finished, and written much more correctly than he would have believed himself able to do. Besides, he did not remember having finished it. The puzzle did not trouble him very much. Another day the same thing occurred; he left the room, leaving a letter unfinished on the

The Dutiful Son 孝子

At the foot of the Oriental-Perfume-Mountain, in one of the most beautiful places of this celebrated district, the passers-by could see a small lodge. Chou The-favourable lived there with his mother. He was still young, being only thirty years old, and earned his living in the way so highly praised by the ancient Classics; he cultivated a small field by his house, and every week went to the next market to exchange what he had for what he wanted. Both were very happy, when a calamity befell them; the old mother one morning felt a pain in her right leg. Two or three days afterwards she had there an ulcer that no remedies could cure; everything was tried and everything failed. Day and night she was moaning, turning over in her hard wooden bed. The-favourable forgot to drink and eat, in his anxiety to give his mother the medicines the doctor advised. Several months wore on; the ulcer did not heal. The despair of the son was greater every day; at last, overcome by his fatigue, he fell as

The Marble Arch 庚娘

When the troubles began to break out in Hankow, many families were alarmed. Those who were not ignorant of the powerful organisation of the revolutionists left the town as soon as possible, anticipating that it would soon be plundered and burnt. The retired prefect, Kiun, was amongst the first to embark in order to go down the river. His house was situated at several lis from the river, on the confines of the suburbs, outside the fortified enclosure. He had only been married a short time, and was living with his father and mother. When the baggage at last was ready, the bearers fixed it in the middle of their long bamboos and set off two by two, grumbling under the heavy load. The two old people followed; Kiun and his young wife, the charming Seaweed, helped them as well as they could. In order to avoid crossing the centre of the town, they followed the crenellated wall by an almost deserted road. A young man and woman alone were sauntering in the same direction, carrying parcels on

The Two Brothers 二商

In the town of Sou-tcheou there lived two brothers. The elder, surnamed Merchant, was very rich; the younger, named Deceived-hope, very poor. They lived side by side, and their houses, the paternal inheritance, were only separated by a low wall. They were both married. This year, the harvest having been bad, Deceived-hope could not afford the necessary rice for his family to live upon. His wife said to him: "Let us send our son to your brother: he will be touched and will give us something, without any doubt." Deceived-hope hesitated, but at last decided to take this step which hurt his pride. When the child returned from his uncle's, his hands were empty. They questioned him: "I told my uncle that you were without rice; he hesitated and looked at my aunt. She then said to me: 'The two brothers live separately; their food also is separate.'" Deceived-hope and his wife did not say a word; they fetched the bale of rice that was still in their corn-lof

The Princess Nelumbo 蓮花公主

Gleam-of-day was sleeping; his round face and high forehead denoted the scholar's right intelligence. All of a sudden he saw a man standing before his bed who appeared to be waiting. "What is it?" inquired the sleeper, getting up. "The prince is asking for you." "Which prince?" "The prince of the neighbouring territory." Gleam-of-day, grumbling, got up, put on his court dress and followed his guide. Palanquins were waiting; they started rapidly, and their retinue was soon passing in the midst of innumerable pavilions and towers with pointed roofs. They at last stopped in the courtyard of the palace; young girls with bright clothing were seen, and looked inquiringly at the new-comer, who was announced with great pomp. At last Gleam-of-day reached the audience hall. The prince was seated on the throne; he descended the steps and welcomed his guest according to the rites. "You perfume this neighbourhood," he said. "Your r

Autumn-Moon 伍秋月

In the town of Sou-tcheou a young man lived called Lake-of-the-Immortals; he was wise and generous. His business consisted in going to fetch goods from neighbouring towns, which he afterwards brought back to his native city. He was thus obliged to be absent for lengthy periods, during which he left his house to the care of an elder brother, a celebrated scholar, who was married, and whom he tenderly loved. Once he had been by the Grand Canal as far as Chen-kiang; the goods he was going to take not being ready, he waited, and to while away the time he visited the Golden Island, whose temples with yellow-tiled roofs show in the verdure above the yellow water of the river, nearly opposite to the town; he passed the night there, as visitors did usually. When he had just fallen asleep, he saw in a dream a young girl, fourteen or fifteen years old, her visage regular and pure. On the second night he had the same dream. Surprised, he awoke; it was no dream; the young girl was there, near t

Hong The Currier

"In the time when the Justice of Heaven was actively employed with the affairs of the earth, one of my ancestors had an adventure to which we owe our present fortune, and of which few men of to-day have seen the equal." Thus began my friend Hong; reclining on the red cushions of the big couch, he fanned himself gracefully with an ivory fan painted all over. "Our family, as you know, originally came from the town of The-Black-chain in the province of The-Foaming-rivers. Our ancestor Hong The-just was a currier by trade; he cut and scraped the skins that were entrusted to him. His family was composed only of his wife, who helped him as well as she could. "Notwithstanding this persistent labour, they were very poor; no furniture ornamented the three rooms in the small house that they hired in the Street-of-the-golden-flowers. "When the last days of the twelfth moon in that year arrived, they found they were owing six strings of copper cash to ten different cre

Peaceful Light

In the time when the Shining Dynasty had just conquered the throne, the eastern coasts of the Empire were ravaged by the rapid junks commanded by the cruel inhabitants of the Japanese islands, the irresistible Wo tsz. Now, it happened that the Wo tsz Emperor lost his first wife; knowing the beauty of Chinese women, he charged one of his officers to bring back some of them. The officer, at the head of a numerous troop, landed not far from the town of The-Smoky-wall. No resistance was possible; the population was given the example of flight by the functionaries, at least it was thus said in the Annals of the prefecture. The country being far from the big centres, the women were not great coquettes; only one, named Peaceful-light, had always been careful, since childhood, not to allow her feet to become naturally large; they were constantly bound up, so much so that she could hardly walk. Her large soft eyes were shaded with heavy eyelashes; one of the literati of the place took delig

Deceiving Shadows

Night was falling when the horseshoes of the mules of my caravan resounded on the slippery flagstones of the village. Tired by a long day of walking, I directed my steps towards the large hall of the inn, with the intention of resting a moment while my repast was being prepared. In the darkened room the glimmer of a small opium-lamp lit up the pale and hollow face of an old man, occupied in holding over the flame a small ball of the black drug, which would soon be transformed into smoke, source of forgetfulness and dreams. The old man returned my greeting, and invited me to lie down on the couch opposite to him. He handed me a pipe already prepared and we began talking together. As ordered by the laws of politeness, I remarked to my neighbour that he seemed robust for his age. "My age? Do you, then, think I am so old?" "But, as you are so wise, you must have seen sixty harvests?" "Sixty! I am not yet thirty years old! But you must have come from a long wa

The Fault And Its Consequences 金生色

When Dawning-colour was on the point of dying, he called his mother to him. "Mother," he said, "I am going to die. I do not wish White-orchid, my young wife, to feel herself bound to keep the widowhood. When her mourning will be finished, she will marry again: our son is only three years old; you will keep him with you." Now, the mourning was not yet finished and the coffin was still in the house waiting for a favourable day, when the young widow began to find the solitude weigh upon her. A rich sluggard of the village, named Adolescent, had several times sent proposals to her through a neighbour; she at last was unwise enough to agree to an interview with him. When evening came, Adolescent jumped over the neighbour's wall and went to her room. He had not been there half an hour when there arose a great noise in the hall where the coffin was; it seemed as if the cover was violently thrown to the ground. A little slave who was called afterwards as a witness t

The Woman In Green 綠衣女

At this time, in the Pavilion-of-the-guests, in the Monastery-of-the-healing-springs, the most celebrated of the Fo-kien province, lived a young scholar whose name was Little-cypress. As soon as the sun rose he was at his work, seated near the trellised window. When night fell, his lamp still lit the outline of the wooden trellis. One morning a shadow darkened his book; he raised his eyes: a young woman with a long green skirt, her face of matchless beauty, was standing outside the window and was looking at him. "You are then always working, Lord Little-cypress?" she said. She was so bewitching that he knew her immediately for a goddess; but all the same he asked her where she lived and what was her name. "Your lordship has looked on his humble wife; he has known her as a goddess. What is the use of so many questions?" Little-cypress, satisfied with this reply, invited her to enter the house. She came in; her waist was so small, one would almost have thought t

Love Rewarded魯公女

Lost in the heart of Peking, in one of the most peaceful neighbourhoods of the Yellow City, the street of Glowing-happiness was sleeping in the silence and in the light. On the right and left of the dusty road was some waste ground, where several red mangy, and surly dogs were sleeping. Five or six low houses, their white walls forming a line not well defined, whose low roofs were covered with grey tiles, bordered the road. In the first year of the Glorious-Strength, four hundred years ago, a young man with long hair tied together under the black gauze cap of the scholars, clothed in a pink dress with purple flowers, was walking in the setting sun, stepping cautiously in order not to cover with dust his shoes with thick felt soles. When the first stars began to shine in the darkening sky, he entered one of the houses. A wick in a saucer, soaking in oil, burning and smoking, vaguely lighted an open book on the table: one could only guess, in the shadow, the form of a chair, a bed in

The Corpse The Blood-Drinker 屍變

Night was slowly falling in the narrow valley. On the winding path cut in the side of the hill about twenty mules were following each other, bending under their heavy load; the muleteers, being tired, did not cease to hurry forward their animals, abusing them with coarse voices. Comfortably seated on mules with large pack-saddles, three men were going along at the same pace as the caravan of which they were the masters. Their thick dresses, their fur boots, and their red woollen hoods protected them from the cold wind of the mountain. In the darkness, rendered thicker by a slight fog, the lights of a village were shining, and soon the mules, hurrying all together, jostling their loads, crowded before the only inn of the place. The three travellers, happy to be able to rest, got down from their saddles when the innkeeper came out on the step of his door and excused himself, saying all his rooms were taken. "I have still, it is true, a large hall the other side of the street, bu

Transforming Human Into Mules

Many years ago, during the Tang dynasty, there lived in the town of Peen-chow an old maid, named San. No one knew where she came from. All that her neighbours could say about her was, that for the last thirty years she had kept the cake shop on the wooden bridge, and that during the whole of that time she had lived quite by herself, employing neither man-servant nor maid-servant, nor had any relative been known to visit her. But notwithstanding this, report pronounced her to be rich. Her house was a large one, and she had mules in abundance. In order to save her guests part of the local carriage-tax, she made it a practice not to receive their equipages, a proceeding which was highly approved of by them, and in consequence, of those who had once put up at her hostelry, many repeated their visits. Now it happened that, about this time, the Emperor " Great Harmony" sent General Chaou, surnamed the Slender and Kind One," on an expedition to the eastern capital, and the gene

The Fresco 畫壁

In the Great Highway of Eternal Fixity, Mong Flowing-spring and his friend Choo Little-lotus were slowly walking, clothed in the long light green dress of the students. They had both just passed with success their third literary examination, and were enjoying the pleasures of the capital before returning to their distant province. As they were both of small means, they were looking now (and at the same time filling their eyes with the movement of the street) for a lodging less expensive than the inn where they had put up on arriving at Pekin. Leaving the Great Highway, they strolled far into a labyrinth of lanes more and more silent. They soon lost themselves. Undecided, they had stopped, when they spied out the red lacquered portal of a temple of the Mysterious-way. Pushing the heavy sides of the door, they entered; an old man with his hair tightly drawn together in a black cap, majestic in his grey dress, stood behind the door and appeared to be waiting for them. "Your comi