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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Now Yueeh sheng was a filial son


[326]

See No. XXXV., note 217.

CLIX.

THE ELEPHANTS AND THE LION.

A huntsman of Kuang-si, who was out on the hills with his bow and arrows, lay down to rest awhile, and unwittingly fell fast asleep. As he was slumbering, an elephant came up, and, coiling his trunk around the man, carried him off. The latter gave himself up for dead; but before long the elephant had deposited him at the foot of a tall tree, and had summoned a whole herd of comrades, who crowded about the huntsman as though asking his assistance. The elephant who had brought him went and lay down under the tree, and first looked up into its branches and then looked down at the man, apparently requesting him to get up into the tree. So the latter jumped on the elephant's back and then clambered up to the topmost branch, not knowing what he was expected to do next. By-and-by a lion[327] arrived, and from among the frightened herd chose out a fat elephant, which he seemed as though about to devour. The others remained there trembling, not daring to run away, but looking wistfully up into the tree. Thereupon the huntsman drew an arrow from his quiver and shot the lion dead, at which all the elephants below made him a grateful obeisance. He then descended, when the elephant lay down again and invited him to mount by pulling at his clothes with its trunk. This he did, and was carried

to a place where the animal scratched the ground with its foot, and revealed to him a vast number of old tusks. He jumped down and collected them in a bundle, after which the elephant conveyed him to a spot whence he easily found his way home.

FOOTNOTE:

[327] The term here used refers to a creature which partakes rather of the fabulous than of the real. The _Kuang-yuen_ says it is "a kind of lion;" but other authorities describe it as a horse. Its favourite food is tiger-flesh. Incense-burners are often made after the "lion" pattern and called by this name, the smoke of the incense issuing from the mouth of the animal, like our own gargoyles.

CLX.

THE HIDDEN TREASURE.

Li Yueeh-sheng was the second son of a rich old man who used to bury his money, and who was known to his fellow-townsmen as "Old Crocks." One day the father fell sick, and summoned his sons to divide the property between them.[328] He gave four-fifths to the elder and only one-fifth to the younger, saying to the latter, "It is not that I love your brother more than I love you: I have other money stored away, and when you are alone I will hand that over to you." A few days afterwards the old man grew worse, and Yueeh-sheng, afraid that his father might die at any moment, seized an opportunity of seeing him alone to ask about the money that he himself was to receive. "Ah," replied the dying man, "the sum of our joys and of our sorrows is determined by fate. You are now happy in the possession of a virtuous wife, and have no right to an increase of wealth." For, as a matter of fact, this second son was married to a lady from the Ch'e family whose virtue equalled that of any of the heroines of history: hence his father's remark. Yueeh-sheng, however, was not satisfied, and implored to be allowed to have the money; and at length the old man got angry and said, "You are only just turned twenty; you have known none of the trials of life, and were I to give a thousand ounces of gold, it would soon be all spent. Go! and, until you have drunk the cup of bitterness to its dregs, expect no money from me." Now Yueeh-sheng was a filial son, and when his father spoke thus he did not venture to say any more, and


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