A String of Chinese Peach Stones

A Clever Lawyer.

Once there was a lawyer who was a putter-through of yamun cases, and for excessive cheating was sent to the lower regions to receive fitting retribution. The King of Hades having enumerated his vile deeds, commanded two demons to take a certain amount of oil and boil him in it.”

On his way to the cauldron the lawyer said to the two demons, ‘ I am very thin, you know. Why use all that oil? Half will be plenty. I know you are fond of oil; keep the rest yourselves.’ They accordingly appropriated half the prescribed quantity. Whereupon the lawyer said that he had an important communication to make to the King of Hades, and they could come with him, if they liked, to see that he did not escape.

Being ushered into the presence of his judge, he asked if offences such as those for which he was condemned were never practised in Hades itself. The question called forth an emphatic denial. ‘ But,’ urged he, ‘ I know better. How much oil did you order these demons to take to boil me where-with? Just so. Now look in the cauldron, and then in the private apartments of these demons.’

The King of Hades did so; and feeling that the lawyer was too clever a man to be anything but dangerous down below, he had even threatened to appeal to the Supreme God if he were not released immediately, sent him back to the upper world.

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