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Miss A-Pao : - Or Perseverance rewarded (1)

In the province of Kuang-si there lived a scholar of some reputation, named Sun Tzu-chu. He was born with six fingers, and such a simple fellow was he that he readily believed any nonsense he was told. Very shy with the fair sex, the sight of a woman was enough to send him flying in the opposite direction; and once when he was inveigled into a room where there were some young ladies, he blushed down to his neck and the perspiration dripped off him like falling pearls. His companions laughed heartily at his discomfiture, and told fine stories of what a noodle he looked, so that he got the nickname of Silly Sun.

In the town where our hero resided, there was a rich trader whose wealth equaled that of any prince or nobleman, and whose connections were all highly aristocratic. He had a daughter, A-pao, of great beauty, for whom he was seeking a husband; and the young men of position in the neighborhood were vying with each other to obtain her hand, but none of them met with the father's approval.

Now Silly Sun had recently lost his wife; and some one in joke persuaded him to try his luck and send in an application. Sun, who had no idea of his own shortcomings, proceeded at once to follow this advice; but the father, though he knew him to be an accomplished scholar, rejected his suit on the ground of poverty. As the go-between was leaving the house, she chanced to meet A-pao, and related to her the object of her visit. "Tell him," cried A-pao, laughing, "that if he'll cut off his extra finger, I'll marry him."

The old woman reported this to Sun, who replied, "That is not very difficult;" and, seizing a chopper, cut the finger clean off. The wound was extremely painful, and he lost so much blood that he nearly died, it being many days before he was about again. He then sought out the go-between, and bade her inform Miss A-pao, which she did; and A-pao was taken rather aback, but she told the old woman to go once more and bid him cut off the "silly" from his reputation. Sun got much excited when he heard this, and denied that he was silly; however, as he was unable to prove it to the young lady herself, he began to think that probably her beauty was over-stated, and that she was giving her- self great airs. So he ceased to trouble himself about her until the following spring festival, when it was customary for both men and women to be seen abroad, and the young rips of the place would stroll about in groups and pass their remarks on all and sundry.

Sun's friends urged him to join them in their expedition, and one of them asked him with a smile if he did not wish to look out for a suitable mate. Sun knew they were chaffing him, but he thought he should like to see the girl that had made such a fool of him, and was only too pleased to accompany them. They soon perceived a young lady resting herself under a tree, with a throng of young fellows crowding round her, and they immediately determined that she must be A-pao, as in fact they found she was. Possessed of peerless beauty, the ring of her admirers gradually increased, till at last she rose up to go. The excitement among the young men was intense; they criticised her face and discussed her feet, Sun only remaining silent; and when they had passed on to something else, there they saw Sun rooted like an imbecile to the same spot. As he made no answer when spoken to, they dragged him along with them, saying, "Has your spirit run away after A-pao ?" He made no reply to this either; but they thought nothing of that, knowing his usual strangeness of manner, so by dint of pushing and pulling they managed to get him home.

There he threw himself on the bed and did not get up again for the rest of the day, lying in a state of unconsciousness just as if he were drunk. He did not wake when called; and his people, thinking that his spirit had fled, went about in the fields calling out to it to return. However, he showed no signs of improvement; and when they shook him, and asked him what was the matter, he only answered in a sleepy kind of voice, "I am at A-pao's house;" but to further questions he would not make any reply, and left his family in a state of keen suspense.

Now when Silly Sun had seen the young lady get up to go, he could not bear to part with her, and found himself first following and then walking along by her side without any one saying any- thing to him. Thus he went back with her to her home, and there he remained for three days, longing to run home and get something to eat, but unfortunately not knowing the way. By that time Sun had hardly a breath left in him; and his friends, fearing that he was going to die, sent to beg of the rich trader that he would allow a search to be made for Sun's spirit in his house. The trader laughed and said, "He wasn't in the habit of coming here, so he could hardly have left his spirit behind him;" but he yielded to the pleas of Sun's family, and permitted the search to be made.

Thereupon a magician proceeded to the house, taking with him an old suit of Sun's clothes and some grass matting; and when Miss A-pao heard the reason for which he had come, she simplified matters very much by leading the magician straight to her own room. The magician summoned the spirit in due form, and went back towards Sun's house. By the time he had reached the door, Sun groaned and recovered consciousness; and he was then able to describe all the articles of toilette and furniture in A-pao's room without making a single mistake. A-pao was amazed when the story was repeated to her, and could not help feeling kindly towards him on account of the depth of his passion. Sun himself, when he got well enough to leave his bed, would often sit in a state of abstraction as if he had lost his wits; and he was for ever scheming to try and have another glimpse at A-pao.

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The fisherman and his friend (2)

The flower nymphs (1)

The flower nymphs (2)

The flower nymphs (3)

Football on the Tung-ting lake

The King

The Lo-Cha country and the sea-market (1)

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The Lo-Cha country and the sea-market (4)

The Lost Brother (1)

The Lost Brother (2)

The Lost Brother (3)

The man who was thrown down a well (1)

The man who was thrown down a well (2)

Miss A-Pao : - Or Perseverance rewarded (1)

Miss A-Pao : - Or Perseverance rewarded (2)

Mr. Chu, The considerate husband

The painted wall

The picture horse

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The rat wife (1)

The rat wife (2)

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A supernatural wife

The talking pupils

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The virtuous daughter-in-law (2)

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The young and of the Tung-Ting lake (1)

The young and of the Tung-Ting lake (2)

 

Stories 1

Stories 2

 

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