In the garden of the city of Sieu-Shui-Siuen, there once lived a man by the name of Fan Ki, who led a wicked life. He induced men to stir up quarrels and lawsuits with each other, to seize by violence what did not belong to them, and to dishonor other men's wives and daughters. When he could not succeed easily in carrying out his evil purposes, he made use of the most odious stratagems.
One day he died suddenly, but came back to life twenty-four hours afterward and bade his wife gather together their relatives and neighbors. When all were assembled he told them that he had seen the king of the dark
realm who said to him, "Here the dead receive punishment for their deeds of evil. The living know not the lot that is reserved for them. They must be thrown into a bed of coals whose heat is in proportion to the extent of their crimes and to the harm they have done their fellows."
The assembled company listened to this report as to the words of a feverish patient; they were incredulous and refused to believe the story. But Fan Ki had filled the measure of crime, and Yama, the king of hell, had decided to make an example of him so as to frighten men from their evil ways. At Yama's command Fan Ki took a knife and mutilated himself, saying, "This is my punishment for inciting men to dissolute lives." He put out both his eyes, saying, "This is my punishment for having looked with anger at my parents, and at the wives and daughters of other men with guilt in my heart." He cut off his right hand, saying, "This is my punishment for having killed a great number of animals." He cut open his body and plucked out his heart, saying, "This is my punishment for causing others to die under tortures." And last of all he cut out his tongue to punish himself for lying and slandering.
The rumor of these occurrences spread
afar, and people came from every direction to see the mangled body of the unhappy man. His wife and children were overcome with grief and shame, and closed the door to keep out the curious crowd. But Fan Ki, still living by the ordeal of Yama, said in inarticulate sounds, "I have but executed the commands of the king of hell, who wants my punishment to serve as a warning to others. What right have you to prevent them from seeing me?"
For six days the wicked man rolled upon the ground in the most horrible agonies, and at the end of that time he died.
This story teaches us what punishments are in store for evil-doers. How dare men act contrary to what they know to be just and right!
[This story is taken from Julien's French version, but the Chinese edition at our command contains a similar, though less detailed, story of self-mutilation, for the illustration of which the accompanying picture was originally used.]