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

The spirits of the Tung-ting lake are very much in the habit of borrowing boats. Sometimes the cable of an empty junk will cast itself off, and away goes the vessel over the waves to the sound of music in the air above. The boatmen crouch down in one corner and hide their faces, not daring to look up until the trip is over and they are once more at their old anchorage.

Now a certain Mr. Lin, returning home after having failed at the examination for his Master's degree, was lying down very tipsy on the deck of his boat, when suddenly strains of music and singing began to be heard. The boatmen shook Mr. Lin, but failing to rouse him, ran down and hid themselves in the hold below. Then some one came and lifted him up, letting him drop again on to the deck, where he was allowed to remain in the same drunken sleep as before. By-and-by the noise of the various instruments became almost deafening, and Lin, partially waking up, smelt a delicious odor of perfumes filling the air around him. Opening his eyes, he saw that the boat was crowded with a number of beautiful girls; and knowing that something strange was going on, he pretended to be fast asleep.

There was then a call for Chih-cheng, upon which a young waiting-maid came forward and stood quite close to Mr. Lin's head. Her stockings were the colour of the kingfisher's wing, and her feet encased in tiny purple shoes, no bigger than one's finger. Much smitten with this young lady, he took hold of her stocking with his teeth, causing her, the next time she moved, to fall forward flat on her face. Some one, evidently in authority, asked what was the matter; and when he heard the explanation, was very angry, and gave orders to take off Mr. Lin's head. Soldiers now came and bound Lin, and on getting up he beheld a man sitting with his face to the south, and dressed in the garments of a king.

"Sire," cried Lin, as he was being led away, "the king of the Tung-ting lake was a mortal named Lin; your servant's name is Lin also. His Majesty was a disappointed candidate; your servant is one too. His Majesty met the Dragon Lady, and was made immortal; your servant has played a trick upon this girl, and he is to die. Why this inequality of fortunes ?"

When the king heard this, he bade them bring him back, and asked him, saying, "Are you, then, a disappointed candidate ?" Lin said he was; whereupon the king handed him writing materials, and ordered him to compose an ode upon a lady's headdress. Some time passed before Lin, who was a scholar of some repute in his own neighborhood, had done more than sit thinking about what he should write; and at length the king upbraided him, saying, "Come, come, a man of your reputation should not take so long."

"Sire," replied Lin, laying down his pen, "it took ten years to complete the Songs of the Three Kingdoms; whereby it may be known that the value of compositions depends more upon the labor given to them than the speed with which they are written." The king laughed, and waited patiently from early morning till noon, when a copy of the verses was put into his hand, with which he declared himself very pleased. He now commanded that Lin should be served with wine; and shortly after there followed a collation of all kinds of curious dishes, in the middle of which an officer came in and reported that the register of people to be drowned had been made up.

"How many in all ?" asked the king.

"Two hundred and twenty-eight," was the reply; and then the king inquired who had been deputed to carry it out; whereupon he was informed that the generals Mao and Nan had been appointed to do the work. Lin here rose to take leave, and the king presented him with ten ounces of pure gold and a crystal square, telling him it would preserve him from any danger he might encounter on the lake. At this moment the king's retinue and horses ranged themselves in proper order upon the surface of the lake; and his Majesty, stepping from the boat into his sedan-chair, disappeared from view.

When everything had been quiet for a long time, the boatmen emerged from the hold, and proceeded to shape their course northwards. The wind, however, was against them, and they were unable to make any headway; when all of a sudden an iron cat appeared floating on the top of the water. "General Mao has come," cried the boatmen, in great alarm; and they and all the passengers on board fell down on their faces. Immediately afterwards a great wooden beam stood up from the lake, nodding itself backwards and forwards, which the boatmen, more frightened than ever, said was General Nan. Before long a tremendous sea was raging, the sun was darkened in the heavens, and every vessel in sight was capsized. But Mr. Lin sat in the middle of the boat, with the crystal square in his hand, and the mighty waves broke around without doing them any harm. Thus were they saved, and Lin returned home; and whenever he told his wonderful story, he would assert that, although unable to speak positively as to the facial beauty of the young lady he had seen, he dared say that she had the most exquisite pair of feet in the world.

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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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