Month: July 2017
“What a strange meeting! What a strange meeting!” he exclaimed aloud.
Yü-ts’un speedily looked at him, (and remembered) that this person had, in past days, carried on business in a curio establishment in the capital, and that his surname was Leng and his style Tzu-hsing.
A mutual friendship had existed between them during their sojourn, in days of yore, in the capital; and as Yü-ts’un had entertained the highest opinion of Leng Tzu-hsing, as being a man of action and of great abilities, while this Leng Tzu-hsing, on the other hand, borrowed of the reputation of refinement enjoyed by Yü-ts’un, the two had consequently all along lived in perfect harmony and companionship.
“When did you get here?” Yü-ts’un eagerly inquired also smilingly. “I wasn’t in the least aware of your arrival. This unexpected meeting is positively a strange piece of good fortune.”
“I went home,” Tzu-hsing replied, “about the close of last year, but now as I am again bound to the capital, I passed through here on my way to look up a friend of mine and talk some matters over. He had the kindness to press me to stay with him for a couple of days longer, and as I after all have no urgent business to attend to, I am tarrying a few days, but purpose starting about the middle of the moon. My friend is busy to-day, so I roamed listlessly as far as here, never dreaming of such a fortunate meeting.”
While speaking, he made Yü-ts’un sit down at the same table, and ordered a fresh supply of wine and eatables; and as the two friends chatted of one thing and another, they slowly sipped their wine.
One thing alone marred his happiness.
He had lived over half a century and had, as yet, no male offspring around his knees. He had one only child,
a daughter, whose infant name was Ying Lien. She was just three years of age. On a long summer day, on which the heat had been intense, Shih-yin sat leisurely in his library. Feeling his hand tired,
he dropped the book he held, leant his head on a teapoy, and fell asleep.
Of a sudden, while in this state of unconsciousness, it seemed as if he had betaken himself on foot to some
spot or other whither he could not discriminate. Unexpectedly he espied, in the opposite direction, two priests coming towards him: the one a Buddhist, the other a Taoist. As they advanced they kept up
the conversation in which they were engaged. “Whither do you purpose taking the object you have brought away?”
he heard the Taoist inquire. To this question the Buddhist replied with a smile: “Set your mind at ease,” he said; “there’s now in maturity a plot of a general character involving mundane pleasures,
which will presently come to a denouement. The whole number of the votaries of voluptuousness have, as yet, not been quickened or entered the world, and I mean to avail myself of this occasion to
introduce this object among their number, so as to give it a chance to go through the span of human existence.”
“The votaries of voluptuousness of these days will naturally have again to endure the ills of life during their course through the mortal world,” the Taoist remarked; “but when, I wonder, will they spring into existence? and in what place will they descend?”
“The account of these circumstances,” the bonze ventured to reply, “is enough to make you laugh! They amount to this:
there existed in the west, on the bank of the Ling (spiritual) river, by the side of the San Sheng (thrice-born) stone, a blade of the Chiang Chu (purple pearl) grass. At about the same time it was that the
block of stone was, consequent upon its rejection by the goddess of works, also left to ramble and wander to its own gratification, and to roam about at pleasure to every and any place. One day it came
within the precincts of the Ching Huan (Monitory Vision) Fairy; and this Fairy, cognizant of the fact that this stone had