Chinese Stories of Studious Boys.

I AM going to tell you some very strange Chinese nursery stories, fully believed among the people, by which little Chinese boys are stirred up to be very studious; and, if they are inclined to become tired of their lessons, are   reminded of very wonderful boys, who liked nothing better than lessons both by day and by night.

You would find it difficult to guess the meanings of the following proverbs, unless you knew the stories belonging to them: 

"He fastened his hair by a cord to the top of a house when he studied."

"He traced the characters on the sand with a reed."

"He studied by the light reflected from snow."

"He studied by the light of a bag full of glow-worms."

''He used a round stick of wood as a pillow.”

"He chiseled a hole in the partition to get the light through."

The following stories will explain them.

He fastened his hair by a cord to the top of a house when he studied.

Sun King was in the habit of shutting himself up in his house when he studied, in order to prevent his mind from being turned from his books. For the purpose of keeping  awake when he was drowsy, he tied one end of a cord to the hair of his head, and fastened the other end to a beam in the top of his house. Whenever he appeared in the streets, the people were accustomed to call out, "The teacher who shuts himself up to study is coming!"

He traced the characters on the sand with a reed.

Yangsui, when only four years old, lost his father. His mother, vowing never to marry again, taught her son how to read; but the family were so poor as to be unable to buy paper and pencils, and she therefore wrote the letters on the sand with a reed, and thus taught him. The boy was quicker at learning than boys usually are. By reading anything only once he could immediately repeat it. After he arrived at manhood, he obtained the third degree. In three examinations at the capital, he came off with the very highest honors, and became a member of the Han Lin College.

He studied by the light reflected from snow. 

Sung Kang's family was poor, and destitute of oil. In the winter evenings he was accustomed to study by the light reflected from snow. When young, he was regarded as of very good principles, and would not mix with men of unworthy habits. Afterward he became an officer of the high rank of Imperial Censor.

He studied by the light of a bag full of glow-worms.

 Che Yin, while only a boy, was very quiet and polite, as well as a good student In consequence of the poverty of his family he was not able always to obtain oil; so during the summer months he collected; large number of glow-worms in a whit gauze bag, and by their light was able to pursue his studies in the evening, thus, as it were, lengthening out the day. He afterward became an officer of very high rank and had the title of President of one of the Six Boards.

He used a round stick of wood as a pillow, to prevent deep sleep. 

Sie Ma Wan, when a boy, whether he was moving about or at rest, in all his conduct was dignified and proper, like a per feet gentleman. At seven years of age he heard an explanation of the volume called "Spring and Autumn." He was very much pleased, and having returned home, conversed with the members of his family in such a manner as to show that he understood its principles. He was accustomed to use a round block of wood for his pillow. When he became sleepy and fell into a doze, this pillow would roll a little and awaken him. Once awakened, he would apply himself to his studies again with 


He chiseled a hole in the partition to get the light through.

Kwang Hung was very poor. Though very fond of books, he was too poor to buy oil. His neighbor in the next house had candles, but the light could not get through the wall. Hung, therefore, made a hole in it, in order to procure rays of light by which, he could go on with his studies. In the city, a wealthy man whose name was Great had a large number of books. Hung was anxious to work for him, though not for the purpose of receiving wages; he only desired the privilege of reading the rich man's books as his pay. Mr. Great was so much interested in the proposal, and in Hung himself, that he gave him some of his books as his wages. Hung became a very learned man, and finally obtained the office of prime minister.

I wonder whether the thought will cross the mind of any reader of these anecdotes that we, who are taught from our infancy the true and real knowledge which God has given us, will have to account to him for what he has granted us to learn of him in his word. Are we as anxious for the true wisdom as have been poor Chinese boys for the wisdom of the world?