Puslapio vaizdai

insecure foundations. This legend is related in different forms, and is perhaps quite destitute of any historical authenticity.

'Begging with a silver bowl'(*aNGE.). This refers to the story of Yen Sung() a wicked minister of the Ming Dynasty, who was guilty of extortion and every crime. The Emperor Chia Ching() wished to punish him severely, but as from ancient times no sword has ever been forged to kill officers of such high rank therewithal, he could not put him to death. He hit upon the expedient, however, of giving him a silver bowl, commanding him to go about among the people, and beg food in this vessel, without which no one was allowed to give him anything. But the people, to whom he was odious, refused to give him anything either with it or without it, for the Emperor's plain meaning was perfectly understood, and even had any been willing to assist him, they dared not. Thus the wicked minister starved, even while owning a silver bowl, for no one would venture to purchase it. The expression is used of things, which though inherently valuable, can not be turned to any account.

'The Cavalry capturing the city of Feng Huang' (††† A .). A Tang Dynasty general, Hsueh Jên Kuei (), was sent to 'tranquilize' Corea. The 'Phoenix City' was near the borders of that country, and a place of great strategic value. He saw its importance, and captured it, although he had no explicit instructions." The saying is used of those who, under pressure of circumstances, exceed their orders.

The crafty policy of borrowing a road to exterminate the Kuo state’(假塗滅虢之法。) Yü () and Kuo () were two small states, which stood to each other in the relation of lips and teeth' (2). The great state of Chin () had often sought (結為唇齒之交。) means to overcome them, but as they always mutually assisted each other, they maintained their independence. At length by advice of a crafty minister, the ruler of Chin, sent the ruler of Yü valuable presents of a magnificent Horse, so that when the former wished to * This proverb is probably an exemplification of the 'false facts,' which are said to be more numerous than false theories. It does not appear that there was any such city as Feng Huang Ch'eng at the date given, but a somewhat similar circumstance relating to another city far distant, may have led to the confusion. The ponderousness and general inaccessibility of authentic Chinese Histories, compels the vast mass of the population who wish to know anything of the Past, to be content with knowledge which is second-hand and often worthless. Many of the

Empty Books () make no pretense of confining themselves to facts. Thus, in regard to this same attack on Corea, another proverbial allusion: 'Deceiving

the Son of Heaven in crossing the Sea (净作瞞天過海的事。), where the story is, that the T'ang Emperor () who really went by land-was afraid of the voyage across the Gulf of Peichihli to Corea, so his Ministers had a vessel made so huge that when he was once on board he was not aware that he had gone to sea at all!

ask the favor of a passage through his territories to attack the Kus State, the ruler of Yü could no longer refuse. Thus was acted out the old story of the Lion and the Four Bulls, for when Kuo was subdued, Yü soon followed.

'Like Sung Chiang-pretended humanity and justice' (. GC). This man was a clerk in a Yamên, when he committed a murder, for which he was obliged to fly. He set up as a Chinese Robinhood in the recesses of the inaccessible Liang Shan P'o ( where he collected around him six and thirty adventurers, many of whom are famous as generals. Each man had three names (on the Chinese plan) and it occurred to someone to feign that each of these names represented a different man-hence Sung Chiang's robbers are often spoken of as the 108. This simple recipe may perhaps be the means by which some of the armies known to Chinese history have been enumerated.

'When the Superior Man has no Fortune, he waits for Fortune. Han Hsin once stooped to go under a man's legs' ( 7 1 # 1 # #.#TAT.). The story is that Han Hsin in his early days, was passing along a road where two young bullies stopped his progress, and compelled him to stoop under their legs, or not go by at all. Unable to resist, Han Hsin submitted, but when he became Prince of Ch'i (E) he followed up these individuals, whom he made into animated horse-blocks, requiring one of them to bend over so that Han Hsin should step on his shoulder as he mounted his steed, and the other was employed in the same way when he dismounted. Thus he was amply revenged. See Mayers' Manual, (No. 156) where however a different version is given.

'When Fortune deserted Confucius, he was stopped by the troops of Ch'en and Ts'ai' (F). This refers to the well known event in the life of the Sage, when he was prevented from entering Ch'u () as he intended, lest his good government should make that state so powerful as to absorb all its smaller neighbors.

'When Liu Pei was a stranger to Fortune, he braided mats, and sold straw shoes' (#). See Mayers' Manual, No. 415.

'Do not underrate Ching Tê when he happens to be without his accouterments' (KY***4). This saying refers to Yu Ch'ih Kung (), a famous hero at the troublous period when the T'ang Dynasty was founded. His skill and prowess as a knight were unsurpassed, and on account of his merits as guardian of the second T'ang Emperor against evil spirits, he has come to be regarded as one of two Divine Doorkeepers (P) whom the Chinese worship

to the present day. See Mayers' Manual, No. 945. The story is that Ch'ih Kung, whose 'style' was Ching Te (), went out to battle on one occasion without his usual armor, and suffered in consequence. The expression is used as a caution against the attempt to impose on one who appears to be without friends and backers-like Ching Tê without helmet or breast-plate-but who is in reality a formidable antagonist.

'Cheng Yao Chin's battle-axe-only three blows' (*£«‡ F.A.). In the Chinese military art the several modes of attack with different weapons are called Lu () corresponding in a manner to the different openings of a game of chess). Each style of attack, or Lu, consists of a great variety of thrusts, each with its counter parry or pass, like the moves and the replies in chess, and like them called chao. Thus the sword has twelve kinds of attack (+) the double sword eight, and the heavy lance seventy-two. Cheng Yao Chin, a Tang Dynasty warrior, was an impetuous individual, and when actually in battle forgot all the thirty-two modes of attack with the battle-axe, excepting one, and forgot all the passes or blows of this attack, save only three (R). Used of any one who has one resource only.

'Tao Cho, the ancestral preceptor of Thieves' (71 É). According to tradition, there was an individual of the time of the Distracted Kingdoms (), whose surname was Char, and who was canonized as Hui (). From his holding the government of Liu Hsia under the authority of Lu (), he has come to be known generally as Liu Hsia Hui (T). (See Mayers' Manual, No. 403) and is regarded as one of the historical Model Men (F). The proverb quoted refers to his own elder brother, who is said to have been a Chinese outlaw or Robinhood of those early days. The saying is used to show by example how 'The fruit of one tree may be sour and sweet-the sons of the same mother perverse and virtuous' (-2 菓有酸有甜。一母之子有愚有賢。)


'On the fifth of the fifth moon if you do not stick up artemisia, will hardly eat any new wheat'(端午插艾。難吃新小麥。). This proverb refers to an incident in the career of Huang Ch'ao (4), who was a native of Shantung, and who lived at the close of the T'ang Dynasty. He attained the distinguished rank of Senior Wrangler of the Empire, and on that day, according to custom, was admitted into the interior of the Imperial Palace, where the beautiful women caught sight of him, and ridiculed his ugly countenance. The Emperor in anger degraded him from his newly acquired honors, whereupon Huang Ch'ao returned in shame and wrath to his native province, where he

collected troops and horses, and instituted a most formidable rebellion. (See Mayers' Manual, No. 213). It was his habit to kill almost every human being whom he came across, and each several murder was entered upon a regular account-book kept for the purpose, the obvious intention being to revenge himself upon the Emperor by depriving him of as many as possible of his subjects. The terrific nature of this wholesale slaughter, is inferable from the saying: 'Huang Ch'ao slew eight millions of people-where among them all did they reckon you?' (黄巢殺人八百萬。那裏的著你。). This is said to one who is so insufferably conceited as to suppose himself a person of great consequence, when he is in fact despised by all. The implication is that Huang Ch'ao-who took everyone, would not have reckoned you—you are therefore not a man at all, but a beast! On one of his devastating raids through his native province, the inhabitants were fleeing in terror, when Huang Ch'ao overtook a woman leading a little child, and carrying on her back a much larger one. As the soldiers rapidly gained upon her, she pushed over the smaller, and hastened on with the larger one, who remained behind weeping bitterly and calling for his mother. At this point Huang Ch'ao came up. Curious to know the explanation of the woman's singular conduct, he ordered the child to be brought to the mother, who was made to kneel in front of the general's horse. "The Ancients," said the great commander to her, "had a saying: 'All parents love their offspring' (F#), but how is it that you care nothing for yours ?" To this the mother replied with sobs, that while the small child was her own, the larger one was her husband's nephew, who, having no father and mother of his own, had grown up with her. Had she omitted to care for him in this dire emergency, she should never have been able to look Heaven in the face* (LF). At this reply Huang Ch'ao was much pleased, declaring her a truly good woman (†✯✯(1A). He then plucked a bunch of artemisia () and gave to her, with the injunction to insert it over her door, and to enjoin all her relatives to do the same. He thereupon ordered all his soldiers rigorously to respect this sign, and on no account to enter dwellings so protected. After giving her a handsome present of money, and enjoining her to remain quietly at home, and fear nothing, he dismissed the woman. When next the order to murder and devastate was given, the soldiers spent three days in the quest of victims, but found not one, for every door was protected by the stalks of the ai. Upon the return of the troops to headquarters, this circumstance was reported to Huang Ch'ao, who was always eager to swell the total number of the slain. On hearing the report, he

* Stories similar to this, are related of other Chinese heroes and heroines.

sent for the woman and inquired if she meant to say that everyone in that entire region was related to her. To this the woman replied Ai is Ai (***), i.e., this people all condemned to death have obtained pity (lien ai) of you, and of this the ai plant is the visible sign. Huang Ch'ao, much gratified at the compliment, went his way. The celebration of this Chinese Passover is still continued on the anniversary of the day when this occurrence took place, (which chanced to be the same as the Dragon-Boat Festival in honor of the death of Ch'ü Yüan () the 5th of the 5th moon. On this day the ai plant may be seen thrust over the doors of even the smallest domiciles. Only a very small fraction of the common people seem to have any idea why this usage obtains, yet that they have a dim notion that it relates to something of urgent importance is testified to by the saying current in some districts:

'On the fifth of the fifth month stick in ai,

Or you'll be a dirt-clump when you die.'


'Han the Sea, and Su the Tide-the mounted horseman can afford to wait for them' (#.#.). This by no means selfexplanatory expression, refers to two distinguished statesmen in Chinese history-Han Chang Li (4) or Han Yü () of the T'ang Dynasty, (See Mayers' Manual, No. 158), and So Tung Po() of the Sung Dynasty, (See Mayers' Manual, No. 623). Each of these great scholars and poets could compose with unrivalled rapidity. The first was endowed with abilities vast as the Ocean, while the capacities of the other were inexhaustible as the rolling Tide-hence their respective titles. They could dash off despatches so fast that a mounted courier might wait for them, and yet not be hindered. The expression is used in compliment of great abilities united to celerity of execution.

[It must be painfully apparent to whoever has any dealings with Chinese Officials, that Oceanic Han and Tidal Su are both dead now, and that they have left no descendants whatever. There are few greater contrasts between Oriental and Occidental civilization, than the manner in which thoughts are committed to writing. Should a sudden emergency arise requiring the notation of characters while he is away from home, a Chinese is generally a monument of helplessness. Fountain-pens, or even lead pencils, he has none, nor any substitute. The four precious articles'-paper, pen, ink, and a stone-slab-belong in a 'literary apartment' (), and no one can carry them about with him-yet without them he can not make

« AnkstesnisTęsti »