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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Feng was accordingly liberated


Now

the third princess in Prince Su's family was very beautiful; and Feng, who had long heard of her fame, concealed himself on the K'ung-tung hill, when he knew the Princess was going there. He waited until she alighted from her chair, and then getting the mirror full upon her, he walked off home. Laying it on the table, he saw therein a lovely girl in the act of raising her handkerchief, and with a sweet smile playing over her face; her lips seemed about to move, and a twinkle was discernible in her eyes.[26] Delighted with this picture, he put the mirror very carefully away; but in about a year his wife had let the story leak out, and the Prince, hearing of it, threw Feng into prison, and took possession of the mirror. Feng was to be beheaded; however, he bribed one of the Prince's ladies to tell His Highness that if he would pardon him all the treasures of the earth might easily become his; whereas, on the other hand, his death could not possibly be of any advantage to the Prince. The Prince now thought of confiscating all his goods and banishing him; but the third princess observed, that as he had already seen her, were he to die ten times over it would not give her back her lost face, and that she had much better marry him. The Prince would not hear of this, whereupon his daughter shut herself up and refused all nourishment, at which the ladies of the palace were dreadfully alarmed, and reported it at once to the Prince. Feng was accordingly liberated, and was informed of the
determination of the Princess, which, however, he declined to fall in with, saying that he was not going thus to sacrifice the wife of his days of poverty,[27] and would rather die than carry out such an order. He added that if His Highness would consent, he would purchase his liberty at the price of everything he had. The Prince was exceedingly angry at this, and seized Feng again; and meanwhile one of the concubines got Feng's wife into the palace, intending to poison her. Feng's wife, however, brought her a beautiful present of a coral stand for a looking-glass, and was so agreeable in her conversation, that the concubine took a great fancy to her, and presented her to the Princess, who was equally pleased, and forthwith determined that they would both be Feng's wives.[28] When Feng heard of this plan, he said to his wife, "With a Prince's daughter there can be no distinctions of first and second wife;" but Mrs. Feng paid no heed to him, and immediately sent off to the Prince such an enormous quantity of valuables that it took a thousand men to carry them, and the Prince himself had never before heard of such treasures in his life. Feng was now liberated once more, and solemnized his marriage with the Princess.

One night after this he dreamt that the Eighth Prince came to him and asked him to return his former present, saying that to keep it too long would be injurious to his chances of life. Feng asked him to take a drink, but the Eighth Prince said that he had forsworn wine, acting under Feng's advice, for three years. He then bit Feng's arm, and the latter waked up with the pain to find that the cicatrix on his arm was no longer there.


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