Mr. Chu, The considerate
At the village of Chu in Chi-yang, there was a man named
Chu, who died at the age of fifty and odd years. His family at
once proceeded to put on their mourning robes, when suddenly
they heard the dead man cry out. Rushing up to the coffin, they
found that he had come to life again; and began, full of joy, to
ask him all about it. But the old gentleman replied only to his
wife, saying, "When I died I did not expect to come back. However, by the time I had got a few miles on my way, I thought of
the poor old body I was leaving behind me, dependent for everything on others, and with no more enjoyment of life. So I made
up my mind to return, and take you away with me."
The bystanders thought this was only the disconnected talk of
a man who had just regained consciousness, and attached no
importance to it; but the old man repeated it, and then his wife
said, "It's all very well, but you have only just come to life; how
can you die again directly?"
"It is extremely simple," replied her husband. "Go and get
ready." The old lady laughed and did nothing; upon which Mr. Chu urged her again to prepare, and then she left the house.
In a short time she returned, and pretended that she had done
what he wanted. "Then you had better dress," said he; but Mrs. Chu did not move until he pressed her again and again, after
which she did not like to cross him, and by-and-by came out all
The other ladies of the family were laughing on the sly, when
Mr. Chu laid his head upon the pillow, and told his wife to do
likewise. "It's too ridiculous," she was beginning to say, when
Mr. Chu banged the bed with his hand, and cried out, "What is
there to laugh at in dying ?" upon which the various members of
the family, seeing the old gentleman was in a rage, begged her to
gratify his whim. Mrs. Chu then lay down alongside of her husband, to the infinite amusement of the spectators; but it was soon
noticed that the old lady had ceased to smile, and by-and-by her
two eyes closed.
For a long time not a sound was heard, as if she was fast
asleep; and when some of those present approached to touch her, they found she
was as cold as ice, and no longer brething; then, turning to
her husband, they perceived that he also had passed away.