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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

And his eldest son was called Chia


[48] The examination consists of three bouts of three days each, during which periods the candidates remain shut up in their examination cells day and night.

[49] The name of a place.

[50] This interesting ceremony is performed by placing little conical pastilles on a certain number of spots, varying from three to twelve, on the candidate's head. These are then lighted and allowed to burn down into the flesh, while the surrounding parts are vigorously rubbed by attendant priests in order to lessen the pain. The whole thing lasts about twenty minutes, and is always performed on the eve of Shakyamuni Buddha's birthday. The above was well described by Mr. S. L. Baldwin in the _Foochow Herald_.

[51] There is a room in most Buddhist temples specially devoted to this purpose.

[52] The Buddhist emblem of cleanliness; generally a yak's tail, and commonly used as a fly-brush.

[53] Tree-worship can hardly be said to exist in China at the present day; though at a comparatively recent epoch this phase of religious sentiment must have been widely spread. See _The Flower Nymphs_ and _Mr. Willow_.



Mr. Pai was a

native of Chi-li, and his eldest son was called Chia. The latter had been some two years holding an appointment[54] as magistrate in the south; but because of the great distance between them, his family had heard nothing of him. One day a distant connection, named Ting, called at the house; and Mr. Pai, not having seen this gentleman for a long time, treated him with much cordiality. Now Ting was one of those persons who are occasionally employed by the Judge of the Infernal Regions to make arrests on earth;[55] and, as they were chatting together, Mr. Pai questioned him about the realms below. Ting told him all kinds of strange things, but Pai did not believe them, answering only by a smile. Some days afterwards, he had just lain down to sleep when Ting walked in and asked him to go for a stroll; so they went off together, and by-and-by reached the city. "There," said Ting, pointing to a door, "lives your nephew," alluding to a son of Mr. Pai's elder sister, who was a magistrate in Honan; and when Pai expressed his doubts as to the accuracy of this statement, Ting led him in, when, lo and behold! there was his nephew, sitting in his court dressed in his official robes. Around him stood the guard, and it was impossible to get near him; but Ting remarked that his son's residence was not far off, and asked Pai if he would not like to see him too. The latter assenting, they walked along till they came to a large building, which Ting said was the place. However, there was a fierce wolf at the entrance,[56] and Mr. Pai was afraid to go in. Ting bade him enter, and accordingly they walked in, when they found that all the employes of the place, some of whom were standing about and others lying down to sleep, were all wolves. The central pathway was piled up with whitening bones, and Mr. Pai began to feel horribly alarmed but Ting kept close to him all the time, and at length they got safely in. Pai's son, Chia, was just coming out; and when he saw his father accompanied by Ting, he was overjoyed, and, asking them to sit down, bade the attendants serve some refreshment. Thereupon a great big wolf brought in in his mouth the carcase of a dead man, and set it before them, at which Mr.

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