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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Secretly gouging them out with his finger


FOOTNOTES:

[210] That is, missionaries from India.

[211] See No. LVI., note 320.

[212] Much of the above recalls Fa Hsien's narrative of his celebrated journey from China to India in the early years of the fifth century of our era, with which our author was evidently well acquainted. That courageous traveller complained that of those who had set out with him some had stopped on the way and others had died, leaving him only his own shadow as a companion.

[213] This may almost be said to have been the belief of the Arabs at the date of the composition of "The Arabian Nights."

[214] For Kuan-yin, see No. XXXIII., note 208. Wen-shu, or Manjusiri, is the God of Wisdom, and is generally represented as riding on a lion, in attendance, together with P'u-hsien, the God of Action, who rides an elephant, upon Shakyamuni Buddha.

CXVI.

THE STOLEN EYES.

When His Excellency Mr. T'ang, of our village, was quite a child, a relative of his took him to a temple to see the usual theatrical performances.[215] He was a clever little fellow, afraid of nothing and nobody; and when he saw one of the clay images in the vestibule staring at him with its great glass[216] eyes, the temptation

was irresistible; and, secretly gouging them out with his finger, he carried them off with him. When they reached home, his relative was taken suddenly ill and remained for a long time speechless; at length, jumping up he cried out several times in a voice of thunder, "Why did you gouge out my eyes?" His family did not know what to make of this, until little T'ang told them what he had done; they then immediately began to pray to the possessed man, saying, "A mere child, unconscious of the wickedness of his act, took away in his fun thy sacred eyes. They shall be reverently replaced." Thereupon the voice exclaimed, "In that case, I shall go away;" and he had hardly spoken before T'ang's relative fell flat upon the ground and lay there in a state of insensibility for some time. When he recovered, they asked him concerning what he had said; but he remembered nothing of it. The eyes were then forthwith restored to their original sockets.

FOOTNOTES:

[215] See No. XLVIII., note 277.

[216] The term here used stands for a vitreous composition that has long been prepared by the Chinese. Glass, properly so called, is said to have been introduced into China from the west, by a eunuch, during the Ming dynasty.

CXVII.

THE INVISIBLE PRIEST.

Mr. Han was a gentleman of good family, on very intimate terms with a skilful Taoist priest and magician named Tan, who, when sitting amongst other guests, would suddenly become invisible. Mr. Han was extremely anxious to learn this art, but Tan refused all his entreaties, "Not," as he said, "because I want to keep the secret for myself, but simply as a matter of principle. To teach the superior man[217] would be well enough; others, however, would avail themselves of such knowledge to plunder their neighbours.


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