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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Feng hsien seemed to be crying bitterly

he looked in the mirror, there

was Feng-hsien, standing with her back to him, gazing, as it were, at some one who was going away, and about a hundred paces from her. He then bethought himself of her injunctions, and settled down to his studies, refusing to receive any visitors; and a few days subsequently, when he happened to look in the mirror, there was Feng-hsien, with her face turned towards him, and smiling in every feature. After this, he was always taking out the mirror to look at her; however, in about a month his good resolutions began to disappear, and he once more went out to enjoy himself and waste his time as before. When he returned home and looked in the mirror, Feng-hsien seemed to be crying bitterly; and the day after, when he looked at her again, she had her back turned towards him as on the day he received the mirror. He now knew that it was because he had neglected his studies, and forthwith set to work again with all diligence, until in a month's time she had turned round once again. Henceforward, whenever anything interrupted his progress, Feng-hsien's countenance became sad; but whenever he was getting on well, her sadness was changed to smiles. Night and morning Liu would look at the mirror, regarding it quite in the light of a revered preceptor; and in three years' time he took his degree in triumph. "Now," cried he, "I shall be able to look Feng-hsien in the face." And there, sure enough, she was, with her delicately-pencilled arched eye-brows, and her teeth just showing between her
lips, as happy-looking as she could be, when, all of a sudden, she seemed to speak, and Liu heard her say, "A pretty pair we make, I must allow"--and the next moment Feng-hsien stood by his side.


[87] The following is merely a single episode taken from a long and otherwise uninteresting story. Miss Feng-hsien was a fox; hence her power to bestow such a singular present as the mirror here described, the object of which was to incite her lover to success--the condition of their future union.



Mr. Tung was a Hsue-chou man, very fond of playing broad-sword, and a light-hearted, devil-may-care fellow, who was often involving himself in trouble. One day he fell in with a traveller who was riding on a mule and going the same way as himself; whereupon they entered into conversation, and began to talk to each other about feats of strength and so on. The traveller said his name was T'ung,[88] and that he belonged to Liao-yang; that he had been twenty years away from home, and had just returned from beyond the sea. "And I venture to say," cried Tung, "that in your wanderings on the Four Seas[89] you have seen a great many people; but have you seen any supernaturally clever ones?" T'ung asked him to what he alluded; and then Tung explained what his own particular hobby was, adding how much he would like to learn from them any tricks in the art of broad-sword. "Supernatural," replied the traveller, "are to be found everywhere. It needs but that a man should be a loyal subject and a filial son for him to know all that the supernaturals know." "Right you are, indeed!" cried Tung, as he drew a short sword from his belt, and, tapping the blade with his fingers, began to accompany it with a song. He then cut down a tree that was by the wayside, to shew T'ung how sharp it was; at which T'ung smoothed his beard and smiled, begging to be allowed

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