THE WOMAN IN GREEN
A Chinese Story
translated by George
At this time, in the Pavilion-of-the-guests,
in the Monastery-of-the-healing-springs,
the most celebrated of the
Fo-kien province, lived a young scholar
whose name was Little-cypress.
As soon as the sun rose he was at his
work, seated near the trellised window.
When night fell, his lamp still lit the outline
of the wooden trellis.
One morning a shadow darkened his
book; he raised his eyes: a young woman
with a long green skirt, her face of matchless
beauty, was standing outside the window
and was looking at him.
"You are then always working, Lord
Little-cypress?" she said.
She was so bewitching that he knew her
immediately for a goddess; but all the
same he asked her where she lived and
what was her name.
"Your lordship has looked on his humble
wife; he has known her as a goddess.
What is the use of so many questions?"
Little-cypress, satisfied with this reply,
invited her to enter the house. She came
in; her waist was so small, one would almost
have thought that her body was divided
He invited her to sit down; they talked
and laughed together a long time.
He asked her to sing, and, with a low
voice, which filled her friend with rapture,
"On the trees the bird pursues his companion;
Oppressed slaves free themselves with love.
How has my Lord lived alone,
Without enjoying all the pleasures of married life?"
The sound vibrated like a thread of silk;
it penetrated the ear and troubled the
heart. As she finished, she suddenly arose.
"A man is standing near the window,
he is listening to us ... he is going round
... he is trying to see."
"Since when does a goddess fear a
man?" replied Little-cypress, laughing.
"I am troubled without knowing why;
my heart beats. I wish to go."
She went to open the door, but abruptly
"I do not know why I am thus upset.
Will you accompany me as far as the
Little-cypress held her up till they got
to the gate; he had just left her and
turned his head, when he heard her call
for help in a voice full of anguish. He
hurriedly turned round; no one was to
As he was looking for her with stupefaction
his eyes fell on a big cobweb,
stretched in the corner of the wall. The
ugly and gigantic insect held in its claws a
dragon-fly who was struggling and dolefully
crying. Affected by this sight, he
hastened to deliver it.
The pretty insect immediately flew in
the direction of the Pavilion-of-the-guests.
Little-cypress saw it go in at the window
and alight on the stone for grinding the ink.
Then it arose again and alighted on the
paper which was placed on the table;
there it oddly crawled, retracing its steps,
returning, advancing, and stopping. After
a moment it took its flight and disappeared
in the sky.
Little-cypress, much puzzled, approached
and looked; on the paper was written in
big strokes the word "Thanks."