The Superior made a grimace, but was compelled to promise this larger sum. The warders consulted with each other, and finally, when night came, led the Superior and three of his bonzes back to the monastery. From a secret place among their cells the monks took the promised three hundred ounces, and gave them at once to the warders. While these were weighing them and sharing them among themselves, they collected the rest of their treasure, and secretly laid hold of weapons, short swords and hatchets, which they rolled up in their blankets. Also they brought away wine. Thus heavily laden, warders and bonzes alike returned to the prison, and held a feast. The priests succeeded in making their warders drunk. In the middle of the night they drew forth their weapons and, having first set each other free, proceeded to force the gates. They might perhaps have escaped altogether; but in their rancour against the Governor they went first to attack the yamen. The troops of police were numerous and well armed, and the bonzes were quickly overcome. The Superior gave his men orders to return as quickly as possible to the prison, to lay down their arms and to say that only a few of them had revolted, since this might save the others. But the warders attacked them so hotly that they were all put back in chains.
Their crime was grave, and doubly aggravated by rebellion. Next day, when the sun had well risen, the Governor gave his judgment. All the hundred and twelve monks were led straight to the market-place and beheaded. Groups of men provided with torches went to set fire to the monastery, and it was soon a smoking ruin. Joy flowered upon the faces of all the men of that town. But it is said that many of the women wept in secret.
Adapted from Hsing shih heng yen (1627), 39th Tale.
A COMPLICATED MARRIAGE
Marriages have from all time been arranged beforehand by Heaven. If such is the will of destiny, the most distantly separated persons come together, and the nearest neighbors never see each other. All is settled before birth, and every effort of mortals does but accomplish the decree of Fate. This is proved by the following story.
During the Ching-yu period of the Sung dynasty, there lived at Hang-chow a doctor named Liu. His wife had given him a son and a daughter. The son, who was but sixteen years old, had been called Virgin Diamond, and was betrothed to young Pearl, of the family of Sun. He was brilliant in his studies, and gave every promise that he would one day attain to the highest literary standard, and to the greatest honor. The daughter was named Prudence. She was fifteen years old, and had just received marriage gifts from her betrothed, the son of P’ei, a neighboring druggist. Her eyebrows were like the feelers of a butterfly, and her eyes had the grace of those of a phoenix. Her hips, flexible as willow branches swayed by the wind, wakened the liveliest feeling. Her face was that of a flower; and the nimbleness of her light body brought to mind the flight of swallows.