BURYING ALIVE

When Tzu-chu died, his wife and secretary took counsel together as to who should be interred with him. All was settled before the arrival of his brother, Tzu-k’ang; and then they informed him, saying, “The deceased requires some one to attend upon him in the nether world. We must ask you to go down with his body into the grave.” “Burial of the living with the dead,” replied Tzu-heng, ” is not in accordance with established rites. Still, as you say some one is wanted to attend upon the deceased, who better fitted than his wife and secretary? If this contingency can be avoided altogether, I am willing; if not, then the duty will devolve upon you two.”

From that time forth the custom fell into desuetude.

*The custom of burying living persons with the dead was first practised in China B.C. 580. It was said to have been suggested by an earlier and more harmless custom of placing straw and wooden effigies in the mausolea of the great.

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