תמונות בעמוד

Then he drank one half and handed the cup with the other half to Ts'ao Ts'ao. But he angrily refused it. The Taoist then threw the cup into the air, where it was transformed into a white dove which circled round the banquet hall and then flew away.

All faces were turned upward following the flight of the dove, and so no one had noticed the going of the Taoist. But he was gone; and soon the gate warden reported that he had left the palace.

Said Ts'ao Tsʻao, “A magician like this ought to be put to death or he will do some mischief."

The redoubtable Hsü Ch‘u and a company of armed men were sent to arrest the Taoist. They saw the Taoist, still wearing his wooden clogs, not far ahead but striding along quickly. Hsü Ch'u rode after him, but in spite of all his horse could do, he could not come up with him. He kept up the chase right to the hills, when he met a shepherd lad with a flock of sheep. And there walked the Taoist among the sheep. The Taoist disappeared. The angry warrior slew the whole flock of sheep, while the shepherd lad looked on weeping.

Suddenly the boy heard a voice from one of the severed heads, telling him to replace the heads on the bodies of his sheep. Instead of doing so, he fled in terror, covering his face. Then he heard a voice calling to him, “Do not run away; you shall have your sheep again.'

He turned, and lo! the sheep were all alive again and Tso Tz'ŭ was driving them along. The boy began to question him, but the Taoist made no reply. With a flick of his sleeves he was gone.

The shepherd lad went home and told all these marvels to his master. He could not conceal such a story, and it reached Ts'ao Ts'ao. Then sketches of the Taoist were sent everywhere with orders to arrest him. Within three days were arrested in the city and outside three or four hundred persons all blind of one eye, lame of one leg, and wearing a rattan head-dress, a black loose robe and wooden clogs. They were all alike and all answered to the description of the missing Taoist.

There was a great hubbub in the street. Ts'ao Ts'ao ordered his officer to sprinkle the crowd of Taoists with the blood of pigs and dogs in order to exorcise the witchcraft and take them away to the drill ground on the south of the city. Thither he followed them with his guards, who surrounded the crowd of arrested persons and slew every one. But from the neck of each one, after the head was severed, there floated up into the air a wreath of black vapour, and all these wreaths drifted toward a centre where they joined up into the image of another Tso Tz'ŭ, who presently beckoned to him a white crane out of the sky, mounted it and sat as on a horse.

Clapping his hands, the Taoist cried merrily, "The rats of the earth follow the golden tiger, and one morning the doer of evil shall be no more.

The soldiers shot arrows at both bird and man. At this a tremendous storm burst over the city. Stones were driven along, sand was whirled about and all the corpses arose from the ground, each holding his own head in his hands. They rushed toward Ts'ao Ts'ao as if to strike him. The officials covered their eyes, and none dared to look another in the face.

The power of a bold, bad man will overturn a State,

The art of a necromancer produces wonders great. Read the next chapter and you will know the fate of Ts'ao Ts'ao.



LOYAL SUBJECTS DIE FOR THEIR COUNTRY. The sight of the corpses of his victims rising to their feet in the storm and running toward him was too much for Ts'ao Ts'ao, and he swooned. However, the wind quickly fell and the corpses disappeared. His followers assisted Ts'ao to his palace, but he was very ill. A poet celebrated the episode of the murdered Taoist :

He studied his magical books,
He was learned in mystical lore,
And with magical fleetness of foot
He could travel the wide world o'er.
The magical arts that he knew,
He employed in an earnest essay
To reform the bad heart of Ts'ao Man,

But in vain; Ts'ao held on his way. Ts'ao Ts'ao's illness seemed beyond the art of the leech and drugs seemed of no avail. It happened that Taishih Ch'êng and Hsü Chih came from the capital to visit the prince, who bade the latter take the sortes from the "Book of Changes."

"Have you ever heard of Kuan Lu? He is more than human in his skill at divination,” said Hsü.

"I have heard a lot about him, but I do not know how clever he is; you tell me about him," replied Ts'ao.

“He is from P'ingyuan; his other name is Kung-ming. His face is ugly and coarse; he drinks to excess and is rather dissipated. His father was chief of the aborigines of the Langya districts. From a lad Kuan Lu loved to study the stars, staying up all night to watch them, in spite of the prohibition of his father and mother. He used to say that if domestic fowls and wild geese knew the seasons naturally how much more should a man. He often used to play with other boys at drawing pictures of the sky on the ground, putting in the sun, moon and stars. When he grew older he studied the

Book of Changes' very deeply and observed the winds. He was a marvellous calculator and excellent physiognomist.

"His fame reached the ears of the Prefect Tan Tzŭ-ch'un, who called him to his residence for an interview. There were present some hundred or so other guests, every one of whom could be called able of speech.

“ 'I am young and not over-bold,' said Kuan Lu to the Prefect. 'I pray you give me three stoups of wine to loosen my tongue.' “The request was astonishing, but the wine was brought in, and when he had drunk it, Kuan Lu, looking contemptuously at the other guests, said, 'Now I am ready; are these the sort of opponents you have got together for me to contend with? Are these gentlemen sitting around me disputants ?'

“ 'I myself am anxious for a match with you,' said Tan.

“Then they began upon the meaning of the Book of Changes.' Kuan Lu's words poured forth like a torrent, and his ideas were most recondite. The Prefect replied, stating difficulties; Kuan swept them away in a stream of eloquence. So it went on the whole day without a pause even for refreshment. Neither Tan nor his other guests could help praising him and agreeing with him.

"His fame spread wide after this encounter, and people spoke of him as the 'Supernatural Boy.'

“After this he became famous in another way. There was a certain Kuo En, a man of the people, who had two brothers. All three became lame and they called in Kuan Lu to cast lots and discover the reason. Kuan Lu said, “By the lots there is a female demon in your family tomb, an aunt, the wife of one of your father's brothers. Some years ago, in a time of dearth, for the sake of a few measures of grain, she was pushed into a well and a great stone was thrown in on her, crushing her head so that she suffered intensely. She complained to the Most High, and your lameness is the retribution for that crime. No prayers will avert the evil.

“The three brothers wept and acknowledged their guilt.

"The Prefect Wang Chi, of Anpʻing, heard of the diviner's fame and invited him to come on a visit, and he went. It happened that the wife of the magistrate of Hsintu suffered from headaches and his son from pains in the heart. Kuan Lu was asked to discover the reason. He cast lots and said that at the west corner of the main hall there were buried two corpses, one of a man who held a spear, the other of a man who had a bow and arrows. The wall was built across them. The spearman's master had gashed his head and so his head pained. The archer's master had stabbed him in the heart and so his heart suffered anguish. They dug where he indicated and, about eight feet down, found two coffins, one with a spear inside and the other with a strung bow and wooden arrows. All were much decayed. Kuan Lu bade them remove the bones and bury them ten li outside the walls. Thereafter the woman and her son suffered no more.

"A certain Chuko Yüan, magistrate of Kuant'ao, newly promoted to Prefect, was leaving for his new post, and Kuan Lu went to see him off. One of the guests mentioned that Kuan Lu could divine what was hidden from sight. The Prefect doubted such powers and said he would put a test. He got a swallow's egg, a wasp's nest and a spider and concealed them in three separate boxes. He asked Kuan to guess the contents. The divination made, he wrote three quatrains :

* The latent life will declare itself;
It will cling to your lordly hall,
Or male or female, flung into space,

Wide wings will prevent its fall. “This seems to indicate a swallow's egg.

"A many-chambered dwelling
Is hanging to your eaves,
Each room has a poisonous tenant;

Who'll be flying when he leaves. “This answers to a wasp's nest.

. Therein 's a long-shanked, trembling thing,
Who spins a thread from his inside
And spreads a fine spun net for flies;

He profits most at Eventide.
‘And this it a spider.'
“The guests were amazed.

"An old woman in his village having lost a cow, came to consult him. After the divination he told her that seven men had taken away the cow and were cooking and eating it on the bank of a certain mountain stream. She had better go there quickly and see who they were. If she went with all speed she would find the skin and the flesh. She went and found the seven men hidden behind a small shanty, boiling beef. Most of the cow's flesh was still there. She told the Prefect, , who arrested the seven men and punished them. Then he asked the old lady how she got to know exactly who the offenders were, and she told him.

“He was dubious, too. He sent for Kuan Lu and put him to the following test. He placed his seal and a pheasant feather in a box and asked what were the contents. The reply was:

Square within, without so round,
Beauteous colours here abound;
The jewel within is held secure
And what it witnesses is sure.

'Is not this a seal in its bag ?'
"With regard to the other thing, Kuan Lu said:

There's a bird on the precipice steep,
Its body with flame seems aglow,
Its wings are barred yellow and black,
At sunrise it ne'er fails to crow.

‘And I think this hints at a pheasant feather.'

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