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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

From the Pescadores they finally retired


FOOTNOTES:

[162] We read in the _History of Amoy_:--"In the year 1622 the red-haired barbarians seized the Pescadores and attacked Amoy." From the Pescadores they finally retired, on a promise that trade would be permitted, to Formosa, whence they were expelled by the famous Koxinga in 1662. "Red-haired barbarians," a term now commonly applied to all foreigners, was first used in the records of the Ming dynasty to designate the Dutch.

[163] Our author would here seem to have heard of the famous bull's hide which is mentioned in the first book of the _AEneid_. In any case, the substitution of "stretching" is no improvement on the celebrated device by which the bull's hide was made to enclose so large a space.

CI.

CARRYING A CORPSE.

A woodsman who had been to market was returning home with his pole across his shoulder,[164] when suddenly he felt it become very heavy at the end behind him, and looking round he saw attached to it the headless trunk of a man. In great alarm, he got his pole quit of the burden and struck about him right and left, whereupon the body disappeared. He then hurried on to the next village, and when he arrived there in the dusk of the evening, he found several men holding lights to the ground as if looking for something. On asking what was the matter,

they told him that while sitting together a man's head had fallen from the sky into their midst; that they had noticed the hair and beard were all draggled, but in a moment the head had vanished. The woodsman then related what had happened to himself; and thus one whole man was accounted for, though no one could tell whence he came. Subsequently, another man was carrying a basket when some one saw a man's head in it, and called out to him; whereupon he dropped the basket in a fright, and the head rolled away and disappeared.

FOOTNOTE:

[164] The common method of porterage in China is by a bamboo pole over the shoulder with well-balanced burdens hanging from each end. I have often seen children carried thus, sitting in wicker baskets; sometimes for long journeys.

CII.

A TAOIST DEVOTEE.

Chue Yao-ju was a Ch'ing-chou man, who, when his wife died, left his home and became a priest.[165] Some years afterwards he returned, dressed in the Taoist garb, and carrying his praying-mat[166] over his shoulder; and after staying one night he wanted to go away again. His friends, however, would not give him back his cassock and staff; so at length he pretended to take a stroll outside the village, and when there, his clothes and other belongings came flying out of the house after him, and he got safely away.


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