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

One day he heard that she intended to worship at the Shui-yueh temple on the 8th of the fourth moon, that day being the Wash-Buddha festival; and he set off early in the morning to wait for her at the roadside. He was nearly blind with straining his eyes, and the sun was already past noontide before the young lady arrived; but when she saw from her carriage a gentleman standing there, she drew aside the screen and had a good stare at him. Sun followed her in a great state of excitement, upon which she bade one of her maids to go and ask his name. Sun told her who he was, his perturbation all the time increasing; and when the carriage drove on he returned home. Again he became very ill, and lay on his bed unconscious, without taking any food, occasionally calling on A-pao by name, at the same time abusing his spirit for not having been able to follow her as before.

Just at this juncture a parrot that had been long with the family died; and a child, playing with the body, laid it upon the bed. Sun then reflected that if he was only a parrot one flap of his wings would bring him into the presence of A-pao; and while occupied with these thoughts, lo! the dead body moved and the parrot flew away. It flew straight to A-pao's room, at which she was delighted; and catching it, tied a string to its leg, and fed it upon hemp-seed. "Dear sister," cried the bird, "do not tie me by the leg: I am Sun Tzu-chu." In great alarm A-pao untied the string, but the parrot did not fly away. "Alas!" said she, "your love has engraved itself upon my heart; but now you are no longer a man, how shall we ever be united together ?"

"To be near your dear self," replied the parrot, "is all I care about." The parrot then refused to take food from any one else, and kept close to Miss A-pao wherever she went, day and night alike.

At the expiration of three days, A-pao, who had grown very fond of her parrot, secretly sent some one to ask how Mr. Sun was; but he had already been dead three days, though the part over his heart had not grown cold. "Oh! come to life again as a man," cried the young lady, "and I swear to be yours for ever."

"You are surely not in earnest," said the parrot, "are you?" Miss A-pao declared she was, and the parrot, cocking its head aside, remained some time as if absorbed in thought.

By-and-by A-pao took off her shoes to bind her feet a little tighter; and the parrot, making a rapid grab at one, flew off with it in its beak. She called loudly after it to come back, but in a moment it was out of sight; so she next sent a servant to inquire if there was any news of Mr. Sun, and then learnt that he had come round again, the parrot having flown in with an embroidered shoe and dropped down dead on the ground. Also, that directly he regained consciousness he asked for the shoe, of which his people knew nothing; at which moment her servant had arrived, and demanded to know from him where it was. "It was given to me by Miss A-pao as a pledge of faith," replied Sun; "I beg you will tell her I have not forgotten her promise."

A-pao was greatly astonished at this, and instructed her maid to divulge the whole affair to her mother, who, when she had made some inquiries, observed that Sun was well known as a clever fellow, but was desperately poor, "and to get such a son- in-law after all our trouble would give our aristocratic friends the laugh against us." However, A-pao pleaded that with the shoe there as a proof against her, she would not marry anybody else; and, ultimately, her father and mother gave their consent.

This was immediately announced to Mr. Sun, whose illness rapidly disappeared in consequence. A-pao's father would have had Sun come and live with them; but the young lady objected, on the score that a son-in-law should not remain long at a time with the family of his wife, and that as he was poor he would lower himself still more by doing so. "I have accepted him," added she, "and I shall gladly reside in his humble cottage, and share his poor fare without complaint." The marriage was then celebrated, and bride and bridegroom met as if for the first time in their lives.

The dowry A-pao brought with her somewhat raised their pecuniary position, and gave them a certain amount of comfort; but Sun himself stuck only to his books, and knew nothing about managing affairs in general. Luckily his wife was clever in that respect, and did not bother him with such things; so much so that by the end of three years they were comparatively well off, when Sun suddenly fell ill and died.

Mrs. Sun was inconsolable, and refused either to sleep or take nourishment, being deaf to all entreaties on the subject; and before long, taking advantage of the night, she hanged herself. Her maid, hearing a noise, ran in and cut her down just in time: but she still steadily refused all food. Three days passed away, and the friends and relatives of Sun came to attend his funeral, when suddenly they heard a sigh proceeding forth from the coffin. The coffin was then opened and they found that Sun had come to life again. He told them that he had been before the Great Judge, who, as a reward for his upright and honorable life, had conferred upon him an official appointment. "At this moment," said Sun, "it was reported that my wife was close at hand, but the Judge, referring to the register, observed that her time had not yet come. They told him she had taken no food for three days; and then the Judge, looking at me, said that as a recompense for her wifely virtues she should be permitted to return to life. Thereupon he gave orders to his attendants to put to the horses and see us safely back."

From that hour Sun gradually improved, and the next year went up for his Master's degree. All his old companions chaffed him exceedingly before the examination, and gave him seven themes on out-of-the-way subjects, telling him privately that they had been surreptitiously obtained from the examiners. Sun believed them as usual, and worked at them day and night until he was perfect, his comrades all the time enjoying a good laugh against him. However, when the day came it was found that the examiners, fearing lest the themes they had chosen in an ordinary way should have been dishonestly made public, took a set of fresh ones quite out of the common run - in fact, on the very subjects Sun's companions had given to him. Consequently, he came out at the head of the list; and the next year, after taking his Doctor's degree, he was entered among the Han-lin Academicians. The Emperor, too, happening to hear of his curious adventures, sent for him and made him repeat his story; subsequently, summoning A-pao and making her some very costly presents.

End

 

   
 
 

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The fisherman and his friend (1)

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)

The Lo-Cha country and the sea-market (2)

The Lo-Cha country and the sea-market (3)

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

Playing at hanging

The rat wife (1)

The rat wife (2)

The rat wife (3)

The resuscitated corpse

A supernatural wife

The talking pupils

The Taoist novice

The Taoist priest

The three Genii

The tiger of Chao-Cheng

The trader's son (1)

The trader's son (2)

The virtuous daughter-in-law (1)

The virtuous daughter-in-law (2)

The virtuous daughter-in-law (3)

The wonderful stone (1)

The wonderful stone (2)

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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