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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Their mouths are painfully pricked


O

ye sons of men, on the 8th day of the 2nd moon, register an oath that ye will do no evil. Thus you may escape the bitterness of these hells.

THE FOURTH COURT.

The Lord of the Five Senses reigns at the bottom of the great Ocean, away to the east below the Wu-chiao rock. His Court is many leagues wide, and is subdivided into sixteen wards, as follows:--

In the first, the wicked shades are hung up and water is continually poured over them. In the second, they are made to kneel on chains and pieces of split bamboo. In the third, their hands are scalded with boiling water. In the fourth, their hands swell and stream with perspiration. In the fifth, their muscles are cut and their bones pulled out. In the sixth, their shoulders are pricked with a trident and the skin rubbed with a hard brush. In the seventh, holes are bored into their flesh. In the eighth, they are made to sit on spikes. In the ninth, they wear iron clothes. In the tenth, they are placed under heavy pieces of wood, stone, earth, or tiles. In the eleventh, their eyes are put out. In the twelfth, their mouths are choked with dust. In the thirteenth, they are perpetually dosed with nasty medicines. In the fourteenth, it is so slippery they are always falling down. In the fifteenth, their mouths are painfully pricked. In the sixteenth, their bodies are buried under broken stones, &c., the head alone being left out.

style="text-align: justify;">Those who cheat the customs and evade taxes; those who repudiate their rent, use weighted scales, sell sham medicines, water their rice,[364] utter base coin, get deeply in debt, sell doctored[365] silks and satins, scrape[366] or add size to linen cloth; those who do not make way for the cripples, old and young; those who encroach upon petty trade rights[367] of old or young; those who delay in delivering letters entrusted to them; steal bricks from walls as they pass by, or oil and candles from lamps;[368] poor people who do not behave properly and rich people who are not compassionate to the poor; those who promise a loan and go back on their word; those who see people suffering from illness, yet cannot bring themselves to part with certain useful drugs they may have in their possession; those who know good prescriptions but keep them secret; those who throw vessels which have contained medicine or broken cups and bottles into the street; those who allow their mules and ponies to be a nuisance to other people; those who destroy their neighbour's crops or his walls and fences; those who try to bewitch their enemies,[369] and those who try to frighten people in any way,--all these shall be punished according to the gravity of their offences, and shall be thrust by the devils into the great Gehenna until their time arrives for passing into the Fifth Court.

O ye children of this world, if on the 18th day of the 2nd moon you register an oath to sin no more, then you may escape the various wards of this Hall; and if to this book you add examples of rewards and punishments following upon virtues and crimes, and hand them down to posterity for the good of the human race, so that all who read may repent them of their wickednesses--then they will be without sin, and you not without merit!

THE FIFTH COURT.

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