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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

And then suddenly dabbed on to some unsuspecting sparrow


[368]

Chiefly alluding to small temples where some pious spirit may have lighted a lamp or candle to the glory of his favourite P'u-sa.

[369] This is done either by making a figure of the person to be injured and burning it in a slow fire, like the old practice of the wax figure in English history; or by obtaining his nativity characters, writing them out on a piece of paper and burning them in a candle, muttering all the time whatsoever mischief it is hoped will befall him.

[370] Popularly known as the Chinese Pluto. The Indian _Yama_.

[371] The celebrated "See-one's-home Terrace."

[372] Regarded by the Chinese with intense disgust.

[373] Father's, mother's, and wife's families.

[374] I know of few more pathetic passages throughout all the exquisite imagery of the Divine Comedy than this in which the guilty soul is supposed to look back to the home he has but lately left and gaze in bitter anguish on his desolate hearth and broken household gods. For once the gross tortures of Chinese Purgatory give place to as refined and as dreadful a punishment as human ingenuity could well devise.

[375] A long pole tipped with a kind of birdlime is cautiously inserted between the branches of a tree, and then suddenly dabbed on to some unsuspecting sparrow.

style="text-align: justify;">[376] If this is done in Winter or Spring the Spirits of the Hearth and Threshold are liable to catch cold.

[377] I presume because God sits with his face to the south.

[378] Pious and wealthy people often give orders for an image of a certain P'u-sa to be made with an ounce or so of gold inside.

[379] Primarily, because no living thing should be killed for food. The ox and the dog are specified because of their kindly services to man in tilling the earth and guarding his home.

[380] The symbol of the Yin and the Yang, so ably and so poetically explained by Mr. Alabaster in his pamphlet on the Doctrine of the Ch'i.

[381] One being male and the other being female. This calls to mind the extreme modesty of a celebrated French lady, who would not put books by male and female authors on the same shelf.

[382] The symbol on Buddha's heart; more commonly known to the western world as Thor's Hammer.

[383] Emblems of Imperial dignity.

[384] Supposed to confer immortality.

[385] Unfit for translation.

[386] This is ingeniously expressed, as if _mothers_ were the prime movers in such unnatural acts.

[387] On fete days at temples it is not uncommon to see cages full of birds hawked about among the holiday-makers, that those who feel twinges of conscience may purchase a sparrow or two and relieve themselves from anxiety by the simple means of setting them at liberty.


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