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Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn


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Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn

Tchang-tchun was Minister of State under the reign of Hoeď-tsong, of the Song dynasty. He occupied himself wholly in weaving perfidious plots. He died in exile at Mo-tcheou. Sometime after, while the Emperor was hunting, there fell a heavy rain, which obliged him to seek shelter in a poor man's hut. The thunder rolled with violence; and the lightning killed a man, a woman, and a little boy. On the backs of the man and woman were found red characters, which could not be deciphered; but on the back of the little boy the following six words could be read, written in Tchouen (_antique_) characters: TSÉ-TCH'IN-TCHANG-TCHUN-HEOU-CHIN,--which mean: "Child of the issue of Tchang-tchun, who was a rebellious subject."--_Le Livre des Récompenses et des Peines, traduit par Stanislas Julien_, p. 446.

PAGAL.--The ankle-ring commonly worn by Hindoo women; it is also called _nupur_. It is hollow, and contains loose bits of metal, which tinkle when the foot is moved.

SAN-HIEN.--A three-stringed Chinese guitar. Its belly is usually covered with snake-skin.

SIU-FAN-TI.--Literally, "the Sweeping of the Tombs,"--the day of the general worship of ancestors; the Chinese "All-Souls'." It falls in the early part of April, the period called _tsing-ming_.

TA-CHUNG SZ'.--Literally, "Temple of the Bell." The building at Pekin so named covers probably the largest suspended bell in the world, cast in the reign of Yong-lo, about 1406 A.D., and weighing upwards of 120,000 pounds.

TAO.--The infinite being, or Universal Life, whence all forms proceed: Literally, "the Way," in the sense of the First Cause. Lao-tseu uses the term in other ways; but that primal and most important philosophical sense which he gave to it is well explained in the celebrated Chapter XXV. of the _Tao-te-king_.... The difference between the great Chinese thinker's conception of the First Cause--the Unknowable,--and the theories of other famous metaphysicians, Oriental and Occidental, is set forth with some definiteness in Stanislas Julien's introduction to the _Tao-te-king_, pp. x-xv. ("Le Livre de la Voie et de la Vertu." Paris, 1842.)

THANG.--The Dynasty of Thang, which flourished between 620 and 907 A.D., encouraged literature and art, and gave to China its most brilliant period. The three poets of the Thang dynasty mentioned in the second story flourished between 779 and 852 A.D.

"THREE COUNCILLORS."--Six stars of the Great-Bear constellation ([Greek: ik--lm--nx]), as apparently arranged in pairs, are thus called by the Chinese astrologers and mythologists. The three couples are further distinguished as the Superior Councillor, Middle Councillor, and Inferior Councillor; and, together with the Genius of the Northern Heaven, form a celestial tribunal, presiding over the duration of human life, and deciding the course of mortal destiny. (Note by Stanislas Julien in "Le Livre des Récompenses et des Peines.")

TIEN-HIA.--Literally, "Under-Heaven," or "Beneath-the-Sky,"--one of the most ancient of those many names given by the Chinese to China. The name "China" itself is never applied by the Black-haired Race to their own country, and is supposed to have had its origin in the fame of the first _Tsin_ dynasty, whose founder, Tsin Chí-Houang-tí, built the Great, or "Myriad-Mile," Wall, twenty-two and a half degrees of latitude in length ... See Williams regarding occurrence of the name "China" in Sanscrit literature.

TSIEN.--The well-known Chinese copper coin, with a square hole in the middle for stringing, is thus named. According to quality of metal it takes from 900 to 1,800 _tsien_ to make one silver dollar.