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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Having heard the warnings of the Divine Panorama


In

the first, the wicked souls have their bones beaten and their bodies scorched. In the second, their muscles are drawn out and their bones rapped. In the third, ducks eat their heart and liver. In the fourth, dogs eat their intestines and lungs. In the fifth, they are splashed with hot oil. In the sixth, their heads are crushed in a frame, and their tongues and teeth are drawn out. In the seventh, their brains are taken out and their skulls filled with hedge-hogs. In the eighth, their heads are steamed and their brains scraped. In the ninth, they are dragged about by sheep till they drop to pieces. In the tenth, they are squeezed in a wooden press and pricked on the head. In the eleventh, their hearts are ground in a mill. In the twelfth, boiling water drips on to their bodies. In the thirteenth, they are stung by wasps. In the fourteenth, they are tortured by ants and maggots; they are then stewed, and finally wrung out (like clothes). In the fifteenth, they are stung by scorpions. In the sixteenth, they are tortured by venomous snakes, crimson and scarlet.

All who on earth have committed one of the ten great crimes, and have deserved either the lingering death, decapitation, strangulation, or other punishment, shall, after passing through the tortures of the previous Courts, be brought to this Court, together with those guilty of arson, of making _ku_ poison,[394] bad books, stupefying drugs, and many other disgraceful acts. Then, if it be found

that, hearkening to the words of the _Divine Panorama_, they subsequently destroyed the blocks of these books, burnt their prescriptions, and ceased practising the magical art, they shall escape the punishments of this Court and be passed on to the Tenth Court, thence to be born again amongst the sons of men. But if, having heard the warnings of the _Divine Panorama_, they still continue to sin, from the Second to the Eighth Court their tortures shall be increased. They shall be bound on to a hollow copper pillar, clasping it round with their hands and feet. Then the pillar shall be filled with fierce fire, so as to burn into their heart and liver; and afterwards their feet shall be plunged into the great Gehenna of A-pi, knives shall be thrust into their lungs, they shall bite their own hearts, and gradually sink to the uttermost depths of hell, there to endure excruciating torments until the victims of their wickedness have either recovered the property out of which they were cheated, or the life that was taken away from them, and until every trace of book, prescription, picture, &c. formerly used by these wicked souls has disappeared from the face of the earth. Then, and only then, may they pass into the Tenth Court to be born again in one of the Six States of existence.

O ye who have committed such crimes as these, on the 8th of the 4th moon, or the 1st or 15th (of any moon), fasting swear that you will buy up all bad books and magical pamphlets and utterly destroy them with fire; or that you will circulate copies of the _Divine Panorama_ to be a warning to others! Then, when your last moment is at hand, the Spirit of the Hearth will write on your forehead the two words _He obeyed_, and from the Second up to the Ninth Court your good deeds will be rewarded by a diminution of such punishments as you have incurred. People in the higher ranks of life who secure incendiaries or murderers, who destroy the blocks of bad books, or publish notices warning others, and offer rewards for the production of such books, will be rewarded by the success of their sons and grandsons at the public examinations. Poor people who, by a great effort, manage to have the _Divine Panorama_ circulated for the benefit of mankind, will be forwarded at once to the Tenth Court, and thence be born again in some happy state on earth.


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