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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

There indeed he was in one of the panniers


Mr.

Chao, M.A., told me this story with all its details.[108]

FOOTNOTES:

[105] The elaborate gilding and wood-work of an ordinary Chinese temple form a very serious item in the expense of restoration. Public subscriptions are usually the means employed for raising sufficient funds, the names of subscribers and amount given by each being published in some conspicuous position. Occasionally devout priests--black swans, indeed, in China--shut themselves up in boxes studded with nails, one of which they pull out every time a certain donation is given, and there they remain until every nail is withdrawn. But after all it is difficult to say whether they endure these trials so much for the faith's sake as for the funds from which they derive more of the luxuries of life, and the temporary notoriety gained by thus coming before the public. A Chinese proverb says, "The image-maker doesn't worship Buddha. He knows too much about the idol;" and the application of this saying may safely be extended to the majority of Buddhist priests in China.

[106] This is the title generally applied to the Manchu commanders of Manchu garrisons, who are stationed at certain of the most important points of the Chinese Empire, and whose presence is intended as a check upon the action of the civil authorities.

[107] See No. VI., note 52.

[108]

The moral being, of course, that Buddha protects those who look after his interests on earth.

LXXXVII.

A STRANGE COMPANION.

Han Kung-fu, of Yue-ch'eng, told me that he was one day travelling along a road with a man of his village, named P'eng, when all of a sudden the latter disappeared, leaving his mule to jog along with an empty saddle. At the same moment, Mr. Han heard his voice calling for assistance, and apparently proceeding from inside one of the panniers strapped across the mule's back; and on looking closely, there indeed he was in one of the panniers, which, however, did not seem to be at all displaced by his weight. On trying to get him out the mouth of the pannier closed itself tightly; and it was only when he cut it open with a knife that he saw P'eng curled up in it like a dog. He then helped him out, and asked him how he managed to get in; but this he was unable to say. It further appeared that his family was under fox influence, many strange things of this kind having happened before.

LXXXVIII.

SPIRITUALISTIC SEANCES.

It is customary in Shantung, when any one is sick, for the womenfolk to engage an old sorceress or medium, who strums on a tambourine and performs certain mysterious antics. This custom obtains even more in the capital, where young ladies of the best families frequently organize such _seances_ among themselves. On a table in the


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