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Title: The Red Miriok

Author: Annie Maria Barnes

Illustrator: George A. Newman

Release date: January 2, 2011 [eBook #34810]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Stephanie McKee, Bill Tozier
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


The Red Miriok





Copyright 1901 and 1902 by the
American Baptist Publication Society

Published January, 1903
From the Society's own Press


Korea has been called the "Hermit Nation," as of all nations Tibet alone has exceeded it in repulsing foreign influences. Only in 1882 did the United States secure a treaty, and that opened the country to foreign trade only in the capital, Seoul, and three ports. But in this treaty Korea was treated with as an independent State, and its people are distinct from either Chinese or Japanese and well repay study and missionary labors. This little story is one of the first to present this slightly known land and its customs, and therefore deserves special attention from all who are interested in the Christianizing of Oriental nations.


Mr. Kit-ze

A Hasty Desertion

The Lost Recovered

A Stowaway

Before the Magistrate

A Friendly Hail

An Entreaty

The Story of Choi-so

A Theft

An Arrested Sacrifice

"One Soul"



"Mr. Kit-ze's hat was moving across the organ"

'Yes, only a little, for it takes nearly three thousand of
them to make a dollar

"Yes, it was the red miriok"

"He began to shake him vigorously"

"Cheefoo prostrated himself to the magistrate"

"The old man was bolt upright, despite his years"

"Then, extending his hands, entreated"

"He was permitted to look ... upon the priests at their

"He forthwith ... proceeded to throw rice into the well"

"'Stop!' entreated Helen"

"'Sorry. Sorry. It was wrong. She showed me'"





here is one thing I forgot to mention," said Mr. Reid, resuming the conversation. "If we do undertake our sampan journey, we must have Mr. Kit-ze. I have already talked to him about it."

"Oh, father!"

The expression of Clarence's face so emphasized his protest that nothing beyond the mere exclamation was necessary.

"Why, Clarence, what could be the objection to Mr. Kit-ze?"

"A good one, father. He is such an eel-like fellow. I know we couldn't depend on him. Then it strikes me that his mind isn't right. He's always muttering to himself and clutching his breast in such a queer way. Oh, I'm sure it would be a bad step to take Mr. Kit-ze."

"That is just like a boy!" declared Helen, his sister, "jumping at conclusions."

"You mean girls," retorted Clarence. "They fairly spring at them; yes, reach out their arms to grasp 'em as they spring."

"Come, children, don't spar," warned Mr. Reid. "But, my son," turning to Clarence, "I fear it is as your sister asserts, you have arrived at conclusions too hastily with reference to Mr. Kit-ze. He is a little strange in his manner, I'll admit; but his friends, some of whom belong to the mission, tell me that he is a very good sort of fellow, honest and well-meaning, though he is rather grasping as to money matters."

"He is well-meaning," asserted Helen; "and I think the reason he is so close about money is because he has many who are dependent on him. Yes, I like Mr. Kit-ze. Though some of his ways are strange, yet he is good-natured and kind when you know him well."

"Guess, then, I don't know him well," admitted Clarence.

"No; and until you do, you won't like him."

Clarence whistled, and reached over to give the tail of Nam-san, the monkey, a twist, which that quick-tempered little animal resented by scratching at him and then springing away.

"I think I know what is the matter with Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Reid, as though in sudden comment after following a line of thought. "He is a religious enthusiast."

Helen looked at him quickly, a glad light over-spreading her face. "Oh, father, I didn't know that Mr. Kit-ze had been converted. That is news."

"I don't mean that, Helen. I wish that it were true, for I have been working earnestly to that end for more than a year. What I have reference to is that he is an enthusiast in his own religious belief."

"Why, I didn't know, uncle, that these people had any religious belief," said his nephew, Mallard Hale, who for a few moments past had not joined in the conversation. "I believe, yes, I am sure I have seen it stated that as a country Korea is practically without a religion."

"That is true in one sense, Mallard, but not in another. While Korea has no established religion, what might be called a national religion, as have China, Japan, and her other neighbors, yet such of the Koreans as have not individually embraced Buddhism, Confucianism, and the like, are given over wholly to ancestral and to demon worship, especially the latter."

"What do you mean by demon worship, uncle?"

"They believe in spirits of all degrees, good, bad, and indifferent, but principally the bad. They fill the air around them; they dwell in their homes; they sit at their feasts; they even perch upon such portions of the human body as suits them. They bring evil or good as they are angered or appeased. To counteract the influence of the evil demons the people carry about with them certain charms to frighten them away. Around their habitations, especially in the country districts, they erect these grotesque figures having resemblance to the human form, the more hideous the better. They are called mirioks. In the cities, where there is little space for such erection, the figures, considerably diminished in size, are either kept in the homes or carried about the person. In many instances this devotion to mirioks amounts to fanaticism of the most pronounced kind."

"Oh, yes, that is just what Mr. Kit-ze does!" exclaimed Joyce, the younger son of the family. "He carries it around in his bosom. Sometimes he takes it out and talks to it. I have seen it. Oh! it is the ugliest little red thing!"

All eyes were now turned inquiringly upon him. "I believe, yes, I am sure," he continued, "if I were to see it in the black dark, I'd run from it."

"Why, how could you see it in 'the black dark'?" quizzed Mallard.

Joyce flushed as the laugh went around at his expense, then he answered: "Oh, I mean if it were so I could see it even a little bit. I am sure I could see its eyes, for they are made out of something that just glitters and burns."

"It is as I supposed," said Mr. Reid; "Mr. Kit-ze is an enthusiast on the subject of this miriok. This accounts for his strange behavior, his mutterings, and the clutchings at his breast. He keeps the miriok there in the folds of his gown. He believes that it wards away the evil spirits and invites the good. On other subjects I am sure he is all right. At any rate, if we are going to attempt that journey up the Han we shall be almost dependent on him. He not only has the largest sampan and is considered the safest boatman on the river, but he also knows the way better, having ascended higher than any other, I am told."

"Then, uncle, we must have him by all means," said Mallard decisively.

"Yes," added Clarence somewhat flippantly, "red miriok and all."

"Yes, even the red miriok to get Mr. Kit-ze," declared Mallard. Then he asked, "Isn't the journey attended by some degree of danger?"

"With considerable danger at some places, I understand, Mallard; and this is why we should have a stout sampan as well as a sampan man who understands both his business and the river."

The family of Rev. Mr. Reid, missionary at Seoul, Korea, consisted of his wife, her widowed sister, his two sons, Clarence and Joyce, and his daughter, Helen. Mallard Hale, an American youth of seventeen, had recently come to make his home with his uncle. He was only a few months older than Clarence, and the two cousins were very fond of each other. Helen was nearly fifteen and Joyce twelve.

For some days they had been talking of this sampan journey up the Han. Mr. Reid had long wanted to take such a trip into the interior for the purpose of making observations of the country and of studying the conditions of the people along the south branch of the Han. It was reported to be a wonderfully attractive and fertile section, with a people whose manners and customs, differing from those in the cities, made them of deep interest to the traveler. They were described as quiet and peaceful, given to hospitality, and fairly burning with curiosity.

The Mission Board, under the auspices of which Mr. Reid labored, had for some time contemplated the establishment of a branch mission in the interior. They were waiting for him to decide the point where it should be located. He had hesitated a long time about undertaking the sampan journey because as yet there had not been sufficient money to defray the necessary expenses. But the coming of his nephew, Mallard Hale, had quickly done away with this obstacle. For Mallard was comfortably fixed as to income, and he insisted on bearing all the expense of hiring and propelling the sampan, while his uncle was left to provide only for provisions and equipments.

"Then, uncle," said Mallard, after they had talked a little further, "let us decide positively on going, also that we take Mr. Kit-ze and his sampan."

"Yes, red——" began Clarence, but the words were cut short by an exclamation from Joyce.

"Why," he cried, "here is Mr. Kit-ze now!"

Sure enough, Mr. Kit-ze was coming in. It was just after dinner, or opan, as they would say in Korea, and Mr. Kit-ze was still caressing his lips with his tongue, well pleased with the toothsome morsels that had gone to comfort his stomach. He was a little stouter and taller than the average man of his race, standing five feet six in his sandals, weighing, perhaps, one hundred and sixty pounds, and was fifty years of age. His complexion, originally of a bright olive, had now a deep tan through the action of sun and winds. He had a straight nose, but rather distended nostrils, the oblique Mongolian eye, while his hair, of a deep russet-brown smeared with lampblack, was wound in a knot at the top of his head.

Mr. Kit-ze had on the loose white robe of his countrymen, with flowing sleeves, that fell just below the knees. It was belted in with a girdle of straw. Beneath it showed his baggy trousers, gathered in at the ankle. A katsi (hat), in shape like a flower pot turned down over a table, wadded stockings, and sandals of straw completed his attire. When he removed his hat, on Mr. Reid's invitation, there was a little tight-fitting skullcap of horsehair underneath, carefully placed on top of his knot of hair. He seemed solicitous about his hat, not knowing just where to place it. It was, indeed, a huge affair for a hat, the brim being nearly six feet in circumference. At home Mr. Kit-ze had his swinging case for his hat, but here he was at a loss as to its disposal. Helen at length came to the rescue and placed it on top of the organ, where it rested, one portion of the brim lying upon a large music book, the other flat upon the surface of the instrument.

"Well, Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Reid, "are you ready to take another journey with your sampan up the South Han?"

Instead of replying to this question, Mr. Kit-ze suggested: "Better go up the North Han, honorable instructor. There are the Diamond Mountains."

Clarence jumped up suddenly, shouting out his delight: "Yes, father, let's go to the Diamond Mountains. Oh, won't that be glorious?"

"And pick up treasure," suggested Helen; "enough to build the new mission chapel that is so needed," she added, her eyes taking on a deeper glow as she glanced at her father.

"Why, are there really any treasures to be found in those mountains?" asked Mallard, catching the excitement.

Mr. Kit-ze, who understood enough of the language to catch the drift of the question, quickly replied: "Yes, honorable sir, there are treasures. Two gentlemen from your country got a whole wallet full of diamonds in the mountains last week. They say they can be picked up like bamboo reeds after a freshet."

"Only Mr. Kit-ze's enthusiasm," said Mr. Reid in an aside to his nephew. "Some one has been filling him with the story, which is vastly exaggerated, I am sure. But later in the year, Mallard, if you desire it, we can make the trip to the Diamond Mountains. Now my Master's business calls me in another direction."

"All right, uncle, that Diamond Mountain trip can wait. Yes, we'll take it later," he added after a pause.

"Is your sampan ready, Mr. Kit-ze?" Mr. Reid now asked.


"Not quite, exalted master; but your servant can make it ready in a day or so."

"Are you sure of that? We should like to start by Tuesday of next week; and when we are ready we want the sampan ready. You understand?"

"Most learned teacher, it shall be as you wish," Mr. Kit-ze assured him, with a bow that brought his forehead almost to the floor.

A full understanding was now had; the day set, arrangements perfected, and the amount of Mr. Kit-ze's remuneration satisfactorily adjusted.

Mr. Kit-ze arose to go. All this time, having declined the chair offered to him, he had been squatting upon his heels, his legs doubled back under him. Considering the position, it was surprising how quickly he got up. He had barely gained his feet when a sudden cry that startled them all escaped him. He was gazing straight toward the organ, his features growing rigid, his eyes dilating. Following his gaze, it took them only an instant to discover what was the matter—Mr. Kit-ze's hat was moving across the organ, moving as though it had feet and were walking.




he pupils of Mr. Kit-ze's eyes grew larger and larger. They seemed ready to burst into flame. He began to mutter: "The spirit! the spirit! It has attached itself to my hat! It will now attend me home and stay there; how long, I do not know." He made a sudden movement toward the door. He was evidently going away without his hat. Nothing could induce him to touch it while the spirit had taken hold of it in so demonstrative a way. Plainly his thought was that it was better to lose the hat than to run the risk of contact with the spirit.

His movement was hasty, but, quick as he was, Helen acted more quickly. In an instant of time, as it were, she had grasped the whole situation. Her eyes too had done her good service. Her glance in the direction of the moving hat had shown her what Mr. Kit-ze did not see, nor even the others at first, an inch or so of snake-like tail showing beneath the rim of the hat. She sprang toward the organ, quickly threw up the hat, and exposed to view the whole furry body of Nam-san, the monkey, who began to chatter at her indignantly, the shrill notes heard above the burst of laughter that now came from the others.

Mr. Kit-ze was just backing out of the doorway, but he paused as Helen's quick movement disclosed Nam-san under the hat.

"You see it is the monkey, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen smiling. "He is a mischievous little beast, and doesn't respect anything that he can have his fun with; not even your hat, Mr. Kit-ze. But he hasn't hurt it. See, it is all right!"

She advanced toward Mr. Kit-ze bearing the hat. She held it toward him, but he did not take it. He still seemed alarmed, and his glance was nervous.

Seeing the condition Mr. Kit-ze was still in and his attitude toward the hat, Mr. Reid now came to Helen's assistance. "There has no harm befallen the hat," he assured Mr. Kit-ze. "It was only the little beast under it, as you saw, that was causing it to move. It is all right now, my friend," and he took the hat from Helen and held it toward Mr. Kit-ze.

Mr. Kit-ze still hesitated, but, after further reassuring words from Mr. Reid, he consented to receive the hat. Yet he did not put it on; he turned away, holding it gingerly between his thumb and one finger. After he had gone, they found it on the doorstep, a mark apparently made with red chalk drawn all around the rim.

"The superstitious old crank!" exclaimed Clarence in disgust; "what made him leave his hat with us? Why didn't he take it away and destroy it, if he was that afraid of it?"

"I think he left it as a reproach to us," said Mr. Reid. The eyes around him sought his inquiringly.

"It is a hint that, as the misfortune befell it here, and he is now deprived of his hat, we should replace it with another."

"And how will Mr. Kit-ze feel toward us, uncle, if we do not?" asked Mallard.

"I fear not very pleasantly, for a while, at least," replied Mr. Reid.

"Then the new hat must go to him by all means," said Mallard. "We can't afford to start off with our sampan man in the pouts."

"No, indeed," assented Helen.

So the next day they sent Mr. Kit-ze a new hat, with expressions of regret at what had happened, and with the assurance that the other hat had been destroyed.

"For that is what he expects of us," Mr. Reid had said. "He drew the red chalk mark so as to confine the spirit within the hat, then left the hat for us to destroy, together with the spirit. All pure foolishness," he concluded, a little emphatically. "We'll just throw the hat aside."

"No, father," said Helen decisively, "we will burn it."

"And thus encourage Mr. Kit-ze in his silliness?" asked Clarence.

"In his superstition," corrected Mr. Reid.

"But it is all so real to him, poor man!" said Helen. And she continued, her eyes softening: "If it will make him feel better to know it is destroyed, isn't it worth while?"

"Yes," assented Mallard heartily, "it is. We'll burn the hat, my Helen. I'm sure uncle won't object."

"Oh, no," assented Mr. Reid. "If Helen wants to take the trouble, let her do it."

A day or two later Mr. Kit-ze came again. He had on his new hat, and was in the best of humor. Especially did his face express pleasure when Helen, carrying him to a spot in the yard, showed him the small pile of ashes to which the hat had been reduced. He stooped hurriedly, gathered them up, and, holding them in his palms, blew his breath hard upon the mass, scattering it to the four winds. Then he grunted with satisfaction, and, going down on hands and knees, made Helen a series of the most profound bows.

He had come to tell them that the sampan was ready, but on account of the great danger of the shoals near Seoul, they must make their arrangements to start from Han-Kang, four miles from the city. Themselves and their supplies could be transported thither by pony-back. Mr. Kit-ze further informed them that he had secured, as both interpreter and assistant boatman, one Mr. Cheefoo, a graduate of the government schools. He had recently fallen upon hard ways, and was glad enough to earn a little for himself, as well as to see some of the world, even if it were only his own country. Mr. Cheefoo would be sent to assist them with the loading, and to guide them to Han-Kang, where Mr. Kit-ze and the sampan would be found awaiting them.

Mr. Chefoo came a day ahead of the time set for starting, for the supplies must be carefully packed into bales ere they could be loaded. He had too, some suggestions from Mr. Kit-ze as to what to take and how to take it. The selection of the necessary provisions and other supplies had cost them much thought and planning. They knew they must not overload the sampan, as much as they might want to take some things. On the other hand was the danger of starting out with a too meagre supply. They finally decided on the following: seventy-five pounds of flour, thirty pounds of rice,—they expected to buy more of this on the way,—a half-bushel of beans, a strip or two of dried beef, a small amount of meats in cans and of tomatoes for soups.

"We can get eggs and vegetables from the country people," said Mr. Reid, who had traveled some in the interior districts, "and there will be fish in the river to be caught."

The other supplies consisted of a brazier for charcoal, a frying pan, saucepan, and kettle, some drinking mugs of stoneware, plates and soup plates of tin, knives, forks, and spoons, the latter of wood. Mallard had his camera, and Clarence the fine Winchester which his cousin had presented to him. In addition, each traveler carried a rubber coat, a pair of blankets, and two changes of underclothing. One thing they came near forgetting, but Mrs. Reid's forethought caused them to include it among the stores almost at the last minute. This was a little case of medicines.

It was an excited and happy party that rode away from the mission house early on the following Tuesday morning. In addition to Mr. Reid, Mallard, Helen, Clarence, and Joyce, there were Mr. Wilburn, a young missionary from another station, and his sister, Dorothy, a very dear friend of Helen. Indeed, for two years past the girls had been almost inseparable. Mr. Reid's native assistant in the mission work and his wife were to be the companions of Mrs. Reid and her sister during the two weeks the party expected to be away.

They moved through the narrow streets, so narrow that it was necessary to go in single file. Even that was difficult at times, for, though the hour was early, a mass of people was beginning to stir abroad. Along each side of some of the streets ran a gutter, green with slime and thick with all manner of putrid matter. The low mud huts, with their queer, horse-shoe shaped straw roofs, were set so close to this it seemed that any one coming out of the door must fall into the slime if he were not careful. All along the streets dogs and children were tumbling about, sometimes rolling the one over the other. Even the close observer would have found it hard to decide which was the dirtier, dog or child.

"Oh, my, the dirty youngsters!" exclaimed Mallard, as he picked his pony's way gingerly along, sometimes finding it quite difficult to keep from riding right upon a squirming little mass of humanity. "Where are the mothers," he continued, "to let them run so into danger?"

"You will soon find out, Mallard," replied his uncle, "that the Korean woman has her hands too full of the major duties of washing and ironing to attend with any degree of success to the minor one of looking after her children. There! do you not hear that strange rat-ta-tat noise? That is made by the wooden club coming down upon the garment wrapped about its iron cylinder. Wherever you go over Seoul, at almost any hour, day or night, you can hear that familiar sound. It denotes the Korean slave-wife's battle with the white clothes of her lord and master, which must receive a certain amount of gloss, or there will be a storm in the domestic sky."

As they came out through the massive stone arches of the great South Gate, its lofty drum chamber with tiled roof overhead, a new world seemed to burst upon them. They could see plainly now the line of mountains and the nearer circlet of hills, the latter flower-crowned and sparkling like jewels in the golden light of the sun. Brilliant, indeed, was the coloring where the rich clusters of azaleas grew, and the tangled masses of clematis and honeysuckles. Butterflies and dragon-flies flitted through the air; numerous ducks and geese hovered along the edge of the river, now alighting and skimming the water for a few moments, then dipping wing to fly away. Flocks of cranes waded in and out of the shallow places, hunting for small fish to seize. All around was the beauty and the glory of the spring,—matchless skies, bursting flowers, and singing birds,—such a spring as makes Seoul and its surroundings a joy to eye and heart, never to be surpassed, always to be remembered.

They took the path along the river, and in a little more than an hour's time had reached Han-Kang, where they found Mr. Kit-ze and the sampan, both in fine trim and ready to be off. Mr. Kit-ze had changed his white clothing for his boatman's suit, which consisted of a blouse and Turkish trousers of coarse blue cotton cloth. He was very proud of his sampan, and insisted on showing them its various fine points as well as dwelling upon them.

"Never has such a craft gone up the waters," he declared; and indeed it did look workmanlike alongside of those usually seen on Korean streams. To begin, it had two very essential qualities—it was strongly made and it was well calked throughout. From fore to aft it measured thirty-six feet, was seven in width at its widest portion, and drew six to seven inches of water.

At Mr. Reid's request, Mr. Kit-ze had rigged up a new and a more substantial roof along the ridgepole and its supporting framework. This was composed of thick, water-tight mats of tough grass. There were also curtains of the same material that could be fastened along the sides in case of rain or when the glare of the sun was too strong. This roof was only about five feet from the floor of the sampan, so that it was very plain to all eyes that most of its occupants would have to content themselves with sitting or with standing in a stooping posture. The boat had five compartments, three of them from seven to eight feet long, and the other two only small affairs indeed. One of the latter was in the bow of the boat and the other at the stern. Here the boatmen stood to pole the boat during the day, and in them they curled down to sleep at night, each rolled in a straw mat and with the side of the boat as a pillow.

"All hands to the stores!" announced Mr. Reid. "The more quickly we have them in and are off the better. The sun will be pretty warm after a while."

Mr. Chefoo had brought along a young man to carry the ponies back, and he too was anxious to begin his return journey. So all hands set to with a will, even Helen and Dorothy assisting "like good fellows," as Clarence expressed it.

Mr. Kit-ze, following Mr. Reid's instructions, had previously carried aboard the sampan a supply of charcoal and some bundles of faggots. It was only the stores brought by the ponies that now had to be loaded.

One thing amused Mallard greatly. This was the shape in which most of their money to be spent on the way had to be brought, strung on cords of straw. And the amount had proved almost a full burden for one pony, though in all it was only about twenty dollars. What queer looking coins they were! of copper, with a small square hole through their center.


"This is our often abused but ever available 'cash,'" said Mr. Reid, holding up one of the crude bits of metal for Mallard to see. "As there are no bankers or money changers on the way, we must take it with us, for it is the only coin accepted in the rural districts. We must have a little ready money with us," he added.

"Oh, uncle, you call that a little?" and Mallard pointed to the pony with his burden of coin.

"Yes, only a little, for it takes nearly three thousand of them to make a dollar."

Mallard recalled his uncle's words now, as he was helping to store the coin away in what Helen and Dorothy had termed the sitting room of the sampan.

He had turned to address a merry remark to Helen when he was struck by the appearance of Mr. Kit-ze. The boatman had stopped in the midst of something he was doing as suddenly as though he had felt the force of an electric shock. He had thrown his head up and was now clutching nervously at the folds of his blouse. Almost at the moment that Mallard's eyes were directed upon him he uttered a sharp little cry. It was of sufficient compass to reach the ears of the others. As their eyes too were turned upon him, what was the astonishment of all to see Mr. Kit-ze the next moment rush up the bank to where one of the ponies, with empty saddle, was standing, and flinging himself upon it, go galloping away like one suddenly out of his senses.




xclamations of astonishment and of dismay followed Mr. Kit-ze. "What can he mean?" asked Mr. Reid, his eyes fixed in wonder upon the fast-retreating form of his boatman. "He surely hasn't deserted us!"

"It evidently looks that way," replied Mr. Wilburn.

"Now we are in a box!" exclaimed Clarence. "How are we to go on without our sampan man?"

"Well, we have the sampan," remarked Mallard cheerfully. "The only other thing now is to look out for some one to take charge of it."

"Easier said than accomplished," commented Mr. Reid. "Besides, though Mr. Kit-ze has deserted us, yet the sampan is his. We can't take possession without his consent."

"He has forfeited his right to protest against such a step," declared Mr. Wilburn, "by his desertion and breach of contract. I am for taking possession of the sampan, engaging some one to have charge of it, assisted by Mr. Chefoo here, then allowing Mr. Kit-ze so much for its use."

"But a competent sampan man is hard to find," said Mr. Reid. "That was why I stuck to Mr. Kit-ze."

"Oh, but it is too bad to lose our trip!" exclaimed Mr. Wilburn, "especially when so much relating to our work depends on it," and he looked wistfully at Mr. Reid.

"Yes, too bad," assented Mallard.

"Oh, we must go," declared Clarence.

Even Helen and Dorothy were for going on, that is, if satisfactory arrangements could be made.

"But maybe Mr. Kit-ze will return," suggested Helen.

"Yes," said Mr. Chefoo, who now spoke for the first time, "he will return." All turned to look at him inquiringly. He had spoken very positively.

"What makes you say that?"

"Because, honorable sirs, he went away as one who will come back. There was no parting word. He will return."

"He didn't have sense for any parting word," commented Clarence. "It seemed all taken from him."

"No," asserted Mr. Chefoo, "it was only the excitement that comes when one knows there has been a loss."

"'A loss'!" echoed Clarence.

"Yes; Mr. Kit-ze has either lost something of very great value, for which he has now gone to make search, or else he has forgotten something that he has gone to bring. It is one or the other as you will in time discover, son of the honorable teacher."

"But why act in that demented way? Couldn't he have explained to us, and then gone after it in a respectable fashion?"

"It was something by which he set so great a store, youthful sir, that he was overcome by what its loss signified to him. I should say," continued Mr. Chefoo, "that it is something without which he could not proceed, or without which he——"

Here Mr. Chefoo paused.

"Well?" asked Clarence.

"Without which he would fear to go on."

"I see!" exclaimed Mr. Reid. "It was——"

"Let me finish, father," cried Clarence. "It was the red miriok. That old crank has either left it or lost it. Now we must be tied up here waiting his pleasure."

"Yes," said Mr. Reid in a disgusted manner, "it was the red miriok that carried him off in that demented way; I am sure of it. But don't call him a crank so boldly, Clarence. It would offend him should he hear it."

"Well, what else is he? It is just too bad to be deserted in this way and for such silliness. Oh, I wish that the red miriok was in the bottom of the river."

"Then, we'd never get Mr. Kit-ze to proceed," assured Mr. Wilburn, who by this time had heard the story of the red miriok; "or at least not until its counterpart was procured. But we can't stay here," he continued. "We must, at least, try getting on to the next village. There Mr. Kit-ze can join us. We'll leave word for him. This is a very objectionable locality for more reasons than one, and the sooner we move away from it the better."

In the meanwhile a large crowd had gathered, both on the river bank and in the shallow water surrounding the sampan. All were agape with curiosity. It is a well-known saying in Korea, and one the truth of which travelers have often proved, that if you move on, very little comment is excited; but if you stand still and appear to be engaged in anything, or even to be looking at an object, curiosity of the most intense kind is aroused. It takes but a minute or two then for the crowd to gather around you, each individual member thereof following anxiously the glance of your eye and hanging with almost breathless intent upon every movement of hand or leg.

There were women and children in the crowd as well as men. The former were so overcome by their curiosity that they had for the time forgotten to keep their long, green coats close up about their eyes, which is the custom when women are abroad in Korea. They now hung loosely about their necks, the long, wide sleeves that are rarely used swinging over their shoulders.

An old woman with much vigor of speech offered them barley sugar for sale. She was very dirty, and her wares looked as uninviting as herself. But feeling sorry for her, Helen invested quite liberally in the barley sugar, immediately bestowing it upon a little group of open-mouthed children who stood near. In some way the old woman had caught a part, at least, of the situation. She seemed to comprehend that they were at a loss whether to go on or to stay. In return for Helen's graciousness she came to the rescue by suggesting that they send for a mutang (sorceress) who lived near. She would come with her drum and cymbals, her wand and divination box,[1] and in a little while she could tell them what to do.

The sun was now climbing nearer and nearer the meridian, and its rays were growing unpleasantly warm. More than an hour had been wasted since the loading of the sampan. They had burned the bridge behind them, as the saying is, by sending the man back to the city with the ponies. There was nothing now but to go on, even if they had to turn back in the midst of the journey.

Mr. Chefoo was the good fairy that came to the rescue. He seemed to regret Mr. Kit-ze's behavior keenly, and to be deeply sympathetic with the sampan party in its desire so plainly expressed to be off on the journey. He was a big, good-natured fellow, strong and hearty looking, with a clear eye and with much intelligence expressed upon his face. He had too, a pretty fair scope of English, which made his attendance all the more satisfactory and agreeable.

Mr. Kit-ze, he continued to assure them, would return. He felt certain of it. They would leave word for him and proceed to the next town, since this one was so objectionable with its foul smells and its rather rough-looking population. The first step then, was to hire a man to help him pole, as he felt certain he, Mr. Chefoo, could direct the movements of the sampan up to the next village. There were no rapids of any considerable danger in the way.

"All right, Mr. Chefoo," said Mr. Reid. "Go ahead and hire your man, but be sure he is one on whom we can rely."

"I'll have a care to that, honorable teacher," assured Mr. Chefoo.

The first man approached declared that he couldn't go, as his wife needed him to sit and watch her while she washed the clothes. The second one said he must first ask his mother and, as she lived two villages away, they must wait until the following morning ere he could give them his answer. The third wished to know if he would be permitted to take as many as seven suits of clothes with him, as he could do with no less; also if provision would be made for their washing and ironing along the way. On being assured that no such concession could be granted he went away much aggrieved.

Another said he would gladly attend them as their poleman if they would promise not to tie up anywhere along the bank where there were tigers, or even where tigers were known to have been on the surrounding hills. As they could give no such promise with the prospect of fulfilling it, he too had to be dismissed without an engagement. He then tried to drive a sale with them of two tiger bones at three hundred "cash" each, warranted to give strength and courage. As they hadn't the faith he had in the efficacy of the commodity, the purchase was declined. Another hour and more slipped by in this way.

Things were growing lively, if they were somewhat monotonous, for a great crowd was now surging about Mr. Chefoo, Mr. Reid, and Mr. Wilburn. The boatman had them with him for the purpose of consultation. To add to the hubbub a string of oxen and their drivers on their way to the city, the backs of the oxen piled with mountains of brushwood, had drawn near the men, the drivers overcome by curiosity at the sight of the crowd. Between their yells and shouts to the oxen and their noisy salutations passed to those they knew, there was a babel indeed.

In the very midst of these sounds came a sudden cry, sufficiently loud and prolonged to attract the attention of many. While the bargaining with the would-be polemen went on, the young people had gathered within the sitting room of the sampan, that is, all with the exception of Clarence. He had stretched himself along the stern of the boat. His head was lying on his hand upheld by the elbow. Thus it was considerably elevated, and thus he had a fair view of the water all around the sampan.

The Han is often called the River of Golden Sands. It is a clear, bright stream, its bed covered with thick layers of white sand. Along this sand particles of golden-hued gravel sparkle in the sunlight as though they were the pure metal itself. In many places, even of considerable depth, the bottom of the river is plainly seen. Where the sampan lay there was only the depth of about two feet of water. This had for a time been stirred into some degree of murkiness by the feet of those who pressed curiously about the sampan. But as the crowd had now withdrawn to the bank, where Mr. Chefoo bargained with the polemen, the river had cleared.

As Clarence lay along the stern of the boat glancing down into the water, his attention was suddenly attracted by something that rested at the top of a little hillock of sand. First its shape, then its color arrested his gaze. The next moment there came that wild shout from him, a compromise between a station-master's train call and an Indian warwhoop. Then those whose attention was now riveted upon him saw him hastily throw off his coat, his shoes and stockings and, quickly rolling up sleeves and trousers, spring into the water. An instant later he held up something in his hand, his shirt sleeve dripping with the water.

"The red miriok!" he cried. "See! Mr. Kit-ze must have dropped it as he leaned over packing the things."

Yes, it was the red miriok.

"Oh, its eyes are shinier than ever!" cried Joyce. "Guess that's cause the water washed 'em. It's the same horrid, ugly thing I've seen Mr. Kit-ze pressing in his hands."


"Oh," said Helen, "if Mr. Kit-ze could only know!" Even as she spoke, Mr. Kit-ze was seen coming rapidly toward the river.


[1] A box in which are carried three or more coins with characters stamped upon them. The coins are cast upward three times, falling again into the box. The combination of characters each time gives the mutang her clue to the divination or prediction.




r. Kit-ze had left the pony in town and now came on at a rapid dog-trot. He was covered with dust and perspiration, and his hair, which had been shaken from its knot, was now partly hanging in much disorder down his back. When he had first rushed away, it had been with the thought that the miriok had been left at home, that it had in all probability dropped from his clothing as he slept. But as a rigid search failed to reveal it, he at length came to the conclusion that he had dropped it in or near the river while helping to load the sampan. He had stooped over many times, he knew. Why hadn't he thought of that ere coming away? Yes, the first search ought, by all means, to have been made in and around the sampan. But then he had been so excited over his loss he hadn't taken the time to reason about it at all. Now he would hasten back to the boat and resume there the search for the miriok. Oh, he must find it, or failing, secure another like it. He could not think of going on the journey without his miriok, for would not disaster be sure to befall him if he did? But where was such another as this miriok to be had? As he recalled with what difficulty this one had been secured, Mr. Kit-ze grew more and more excited over his loss. Oh, he must return to the river at once! as there was a chance that he had dropped the miriok there.

Thus Mr. Kit-ze, coming in sight of the sampan, saw Clarence standing in the water and holding something at arm's length over which all were exclaiming. It took only a steady glance to show him what it was. The next moment, with a ringing cry, he endeavored to increase his pace, lost his footing, and went rolling down the slope, stopping just at the water's edge. It was Helen who reached him as he regained his feet. She had taken the miriok from Clarence, and was holding it toward Mr. Kit-ze, saying in her softest, gentlest tones:

"Here, Mr. Kit-ze, is something of yours that Clarence has found in the river. We were so sorry when we knew you had lost it, and are glad now that it can be returned to you."

With a little cry of delight he took the miriok from her, clasped it against his breast, prostrating himself before her almost to the ground. This he did the second and even the third time.

The sudden coming of Mr. Kit-ze, his mishap, and the scene that followed between him and Helen on the river bank had formed considerable of a diversion for a part of the crowd. Even the excitement of Mr. Chefoo's still unsatisfactory interviews with the polemen had, for a time, paled before this newer and greater one. Ere she could extricate herself Helen was surrounded by quite a rabble. Many faces were pressing up about her, but there was one that attracted her attention in such a way that it startled her. It was a somewhat worn and haggard face, with restless, piercing eyes, and a nervous twitching of the lips that impressed itself upon Helen the moment she saw it. She noticed that its owner's gaze soon left her face and fixed itself in the direction of Mr. Kit-ze. The eyes had now a startled look. They were fastened upon the miriok that Mr. Kit-ze was still holding against his breast, but in such a way that it showed plainly. Helen noted this riveted gaze, as she also saw his lips moving. By this time her position had become very unpleasant. She felt too, a little chill of fear as she looked at this man. Was his mind upset? However, Mr. Kit-ze, having recovered his senses along with his miriok, was equal to the emergency. He safely conducted her out of the surging crowd and to the sampan.

Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn, with Mr. Chefoo, being informed of the return of Mr. Kit-ze, joined them as rapidly as they could in view of the crowd that bore them company at the sampan. Considerable satisfaction was expressed at the finding of the miriok, though the two missionaries some hours later expressed themselves quite vigorously to each other on the subject.

Mr. Kit-ze, who had by this time profusely apologized for his sudden departure, was as anxious as the others to be off. There was no need to delay another moment, he assured them. He motioned to Mr. Chefoo to take his place in the stern, while he, grasping his long pole, took a similar position in the bow.

"Hurrah!" cried Joyce, "we are off at last."

He stood up in his delight, clapping his hands and, as the boat was given a sudden turn at that moment, he assuredly would have tumbled over the side into the river had not Mallard caught him.

"Better keep your eye on the polemen hereafter," Clarence advised him, "ere you try any acrobatic performances on a sampan."

They found some difficulty in getting away from the crowd, many of whom followed the sampan for some distance into the water. These Mallard finally turned back by the happy thought carried into execution of tossing a handful of "cash" toward the shore. The last they saw of the village was the scrambling forms in the water, and the line of low hovels, built of mud-smeared wattle, with no vestige of windows and with their black smokeholes plainly defined.

Yes, they were off at last, really afloat on the glorious Han, the river of Korea, which, in two branches, sweeps almost across the peninsula, forming two great waterways, navigable for flat-bottomed craft for more than two hundred miles.

They found the river teeming with moving life. In addition to the flatboats there were many junks passing back and forth, for the Han is the great artery of commerce for the eastern provinces. Those going into the city were laden with produce, pottery, bundles of faggots for firewood, and the like, while those coming out held cargoes of merchandise, both home and foreign, and salt from the seacoast.

Some of these junks were very old. They carried prodigious sails, despite their rotten timbers, and looked as though they might turn over at any moment. The most of them creaked horribly, and when our friends in the sampan heard one for the first time, they thought for a moment it was some great beast in terrible pain. When they found out their mistake a hearty laugh went around.

Though the sun was now quite high, and its rays very warm, yet Mr. Kit-ze knew the stream so well that he could keep near to the bank. Thus for much of the way they had the shade from the trees and from the overhanging bluffs. They found their curtains too, much protection. Their little sitting room was very cozy and comfortable. Helen had brought some oilcloth matting for the floor of the sampan, and a little oil stove that they could light when the air was damp and disagreeable. Here too were cushions, one or two folding chairs, and the bedding which the girls were to use at night, together with the oilskin cases in which they kept their clothing, a small supply of books, writing materials, etc. In the next compartment forward Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn had stored their effects, as they were to occupy it jointly at night. Here all would dine when they were afloat; here too, the service of morning and evening prayer would be held. The three boys slept and kept their effects in the compartment just behind that of the girls. The straw roof along the ridgepole extended over all, even for a part of the way over the small, boxlike quarters of the two boatmen. In addition our party was provided with oilcloths for the better protection of the stores, and with mosquito netting.

"This is fine, even finer than sailing on the Hudson at home!" declared Dorothy, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm.

"Or the noble Mississippi, down in our Southland," added Helen. "How pleasant this is! Oh, I had no idea it could be so delightful!"

"You just wait, my sister, until you strike some of the rapids," admonished Clarence, his face taking on a very solemn expression, "and begin to roll about like loose apples in a cart, or find your feet hanging where your head ought to be. Then I'm no prophet if you don't completely change your form of expression."

"Oh, for shame!" cried both girls in a breath.

"I think it is real mean of you," declared Helen, "to try to spoil our enjoyment of the present by introducing into it the suggestion of those terrible things that await us. As for myself, I believe in enjoying what is sweet and good while we have it, without borrowing trouble with reference to what is in the future."

"A philosophy in which I heartily agree," said Dorothy.

There was indeed much to make the trip delightful, for the beauties of the spring were all around them, in the sky, in the water, in the green knolls overhanging the river. The stream continued to be quite shallow. At some places it gurgled over the rocks only a foot or so below the sampan. They came now and then to where the cattle waded knee deep in the lush grasses. These turned to view them in mild-eyed astonishment as they passed by chatting and laughing, then went on with their grazing. Flocks of mandarin ducks and wild geese flew by; some of the latter even swam close to the sampan. There were too, numbers of the imperial crane, and once in a while a pink ibis wading along the edge of a rice field.

Clarence took his gun to shoot one of these, but Helen and Dorothy began to beg for its life. "We don't want to eat it, so why destroy it?" asked Helen.

"Oh, wouldn't you girls like a wing each for your hats?" asked Clarence a little mischievously.

"Oh, no indeed," declared Dorothy. "No bird wing for me! You know that well enough, Master Clarence," and she looked at him reprovingly.

"Well, the truth is," confessed Clarence, "I want it for my cabinet. I know a young Japanese in Seoul who has promised to show me how to stuff all I bring back. In the meantime he has taught me how to preserve them while on the trip."

"If you must do it then in—in the cause of science," and here Helen looked at him quizzingly, "wait until we can't see you commit the murder, won't you?"

"All right," assented Clarence cheerfully. "But see here, sister," with earnest protest, "don't call it murder."

"Well, the cruelty of sport then," corrected Helen.

At that moment a shout from Joyce attracted their attention. "Oh, look at the pheasants!" he cried. "Quick! Clarence, I know you can shoot one or more of them if you try."

Sure enough, there were the pheasants right along the edge of the rice field, fine, fat fellows, and many of them.

"Be careful," warned Mr. Reid. "Examine the surroundings well before you fire. There might be some one near."

Assured that there was not, Clarence raised his gun. "Beg pardon, girls," he said slyly, as he adjusted it to his shoulder. "Pheasants are so good to eat."

They gave a little exclamation, then quickly covered both eyes and ears. The next moment a report rang out, followed instantly by another. When the smoke cleared away five of the birds were seen in their last flutterings.

"Now, how are we to get them?" asked Mallard.

"Why, sure enough, I didn't think of that!" exclaimed Clarence in dismay. "We can't carry the sampan close enough, that's certain."

Mr. Chefoo was now seen throwing off his sandals and rolling up his pantaloons, while Mr. Kit-ze, holding the sampan steady by means of his long pole, was giving him some directions. The next moment Mr. Chefoo sprang over the side of the sampan and into the water. He slipped once or twice as he was trying to make headway over the rocks, and two or three times also, he was seen to mire; but notwithstanding these difficulties he reached the birds all right, and was soon returning with them. As he came again to the side of the sampan it was toward the compartment occupied by the boys, the one in the rear of that in which all had been sitting since the boat left Han-Kang. He placed his hand upon the side of the boat to vault upward, but as he did so a quick exclamation escaped him, which the next moment changed to a decided whoop as Mr. Chefoo landed full in the compartment. A second or so later what was the astonishment of all when he dragged into view by the neck of his blouse a man, and began to shake him vigorously. To Helen was given something more than astonishment. Her heart leaped up, then almost ceased to beat. For the face exposed to view by Mr. Chefoo was the same she had seen on the river bank at Han-Kang with the glittering eyes fixed upon the red miriok Mr. Kit-ze held.





he man made no effort to resist Mr. Chefoo, neither did he offer a word of protest, but stood silent and sullen, his lean face leaner than ever in its side view, his eyes half closed and gazing steadily downward.

"The rogue!" cried Mr. Wilburn. "He was there for no good purpose. Come, sir, what have you to say for yourself?"

But still the culprit made no answer. He only raised his eyes and let them sweep past Mr. Wilburn, past them all to Mr. Kit-ze, and rest there with a deep and burning glance.

"Speak to him, Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Reid. "Find out what was his object in concealing himself in the sampan. It may be," he continued charitably, "that he wanted to steal a ride to one of the villages."

But Mr. Kit-ze, instead of obeying this request, shifted himself a little farther away from the man, and seemed to be intent on something in the river.

"I think Mr. Kit-ze doesn't want to get mixed up in any trouble," said Mr. Wilburn in an undertone. "He probably fears it may end in his having to appear before a magistrate. That always means a fine, you know, whether one is in the right or the wrong. It is evident, brother, that we must adjust this matter ourselves with Mr. Chefoo's help, since Mr. Kit-ze plainly doesn't want to take a hand in it."

But neither threats nor persuasions could elicit a word of reply from the man. Even Mr. Chefoo's fine speeches failed.

"Can he be deaf and dumb?" asked Mr. Reid finally.

"No, father, he is not," replied Helen positively.

All eyes were now quickly turned to her, astonishment plainly written on the faces.

"Why, my daughter, how do you know?"

"Because, father, I saw him in the crowd that surrounded me for a few moments on the bank of the river at Han-Kang. I distinctly heard him talking to himself, though I could not understand the words. I thought at the time," she continued, "from the way in which he regarded Mr. Kit-ze, that they might be acquaintances."

As Helen spoke these last words, she turned her head so as to get a view of Mr. Kit-ze, but he still persistently kept his face turned away, while he seemed to be making aimless search in the river with his pole. He was assuredly doing nothing toward the progress of the boat, since that still remained stationary in the little rocky inlet toward which he had dexterously steered it when Mr. Chefoo had started for the birds.

Desiring that he should understand what Helen had suggested, Mr. Reid repeated it to him. The man was no acquaintance of his, Mr. Kit-ze emphatically declared.

"I think we had better pitch him into the river," said Mr. Chefoo, "and leave him to get out as best he can."

"Yes," said Clarence, "he deserves a ducking, if no more."

"No, we won't be so cruel as that," Mr. Reid replied, "although he may have been after no good. We'll go ashore at the next village and leave him."

"But first," said Clarence, "hadn't you better search him? He may have taken something of value."

"Yes, uncle," said Mallard, "we ought to do that."

To this both Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn consented; but, though close investigation was made, nothing was found on the man, nothing, at least, to which they could lay claim.

Mr. Reid gave the signal for the sampan to be headed again up the river. In the meanwhile, Clarence and Mallard kept watch upon the man, who had now assumed a squatting posture upon the floor of the sampan. To their surprise he began to mutter to himself. But even to Mr. Chefoo the words were unintelligible; all except the part of one sentence. In this Mr. Chefoo said had occurred the words, "Marble Pagoda," but he was evidently still as much mystified as the others.

The village to which they soon came was one of considerable size, picturesquely situated in the midst of chestnut groves. There were too, many beautiful clumps of the umbrella pine over which vines of red and white roses luxuriantly abloom were running riot.

A curious crowd swarmed around them at the landing. There were many in it who had never seen a foreigner. The soft hair and white skins of our friends called forth the most intense curiosity. Ridiculous too, were some of the comments. Question after question was directed to them. Some of these Mr. Chefoo answered. To others he paid no attention.

Who were they? Whence had they come? Were their families respectable? Did their ancestors occupy tombs on the hillside? Could they take off their eyes and pull out their teeth as it had been reported that they could? All of these and many more came in rapid succession.

When it was learned that they wanted to put a man ashore a great hue and cry was at once raised, and it was positively declared that this could not be done until the magistrate was seen and consulted. Thereupon, the magistrate's runners, six in number, appeared and assumed control of their movements. These runners were gorgeous in light blue coats, wide pantaloons of white, and big hats with red tassels.

Yes, the magistrate must be seen, they declared. Nothing else would do. In a rash moment Mr. Reid consented to see the magistrate. It is safe to say that had he known the result he would at once have headed his sampan off up the river again even with its objectionable occupant.

It was finally arranged that Mr. Reid, in company with Mr. Chefoo and the stowaway, should attend upon the magistrate while the others remained with the sampan. At the last moment Clarence begged to accompany his father, and consent was finally given. Mr. Reid could see no reason why the stowaway should be carried along with them, as he had really done nothing for which he could be punished. Their only desire was to leave him ashore. But the runners persisted that it was necessary that he too should go before the justice.

The magistrate was seated on the floor of a small platform over which matting was spread. Around him, also squatting on their heels, were two or three of his assistants. The chief official had on a robe of deep blue silk, slashed to the waist at intervals, and with pipings of orange silk introduced between. Only a small portion of his crimson trousers was showing. On his head was perched a little hat of glazed horsehair ornamented with crimson tassels.

Mr. Reid came into the room and very politely bowed to the magistrate, while Chefoo prostrated himself, as did the runners. Clarence, independent young American that he was, contented himself with saying, "Good day, sir," then began to use his eyes to their fullest extent.


The magistrate took no notice of their presence. He merely remarked in a high key to his associates that foreigners were really demons, and that he couldn't see why they had ever been allowed in the country. As to himself, he had felt many times like setting up again, on his own responsibility, the tablets which, prior to the treaty, had declared that all foreigners were cutthroats and robbers, and should be killed on sight.[2]

Each of these sentences Mr. Chefoo cheerfully translated to Mr. Reid.

"The old barbarian," declared Clarence. "I feel like giving him a shaking."

The magistrate now deigned to become aware of their presence. "Who are these who have dared to approach me?" he asked in a big, off-hand way, but all the while he was nervously regarding Mr. Reid and Clarence. Foreigners, he knew from experience, were not always the chicken-hearted people they were declared to be.

The runners told him.

"Well, what is you name, and whence do your come?" was asked of Mr. Reid.

The replies came readily.

"How old are you? Has your father gone and left you? and was he an honorable man?"

To each of these, in turn, was given a cheerful response.

"Well, what are you doing in the country, anyhow? Do they know you are away? Do you get a salary? How much is it?"

After all these queries and many more had been answered to the magistrate's satisfaction, he deigned to hear the case that had been brought before him. When each detail had been gone over again and again, the magistrate put his head to one side, looked as wise as an owl for a few moments, and then proceeded to deliver himself of his decision.

By paying five Japanese yen (a yen is one dollar), the man could be left ashore; but none of the rest could depart until he, the magistrate, visited the sampan and inspected its contents. He further added that he might come that evening if business permitted. If it did not, he would wait until morning. In the meantime they were to remain tied up where they were under the supervision of the runners.

On Mr. Reid's protesting against the injustice of having to pay such an amount for the mere privilege of putting a native ashore who had concealed himself in his sampan, the magistrate retorted by assuring him that he would then charge him, the missionary, that amount for having come ashore himself without first having communicated with him, the magistrate. Mr. Reid knew very well that such a proceeding was far from legal, as he had his passport which he had shown, but at the same time he felt it would be better for many reasons to pay the amount than to contest the point.

Fortunately, Mr. Reid had provided himself with a few of these valuable Japanese coins, which he carried on his person; otherwise he would have been subjected to the further delay of sending to the sampan, as the magistrate at once let it be understood that he could not depart until the amount was in hand.

On their return to the sampan they found that the others too, had been having trials in their absence. The curiosity of the crowd had now become almost unendurable. Men, women, and children had even climbed upon the sampan. They had inspected everything. The two girls had called forth the deepest excitement and curiosity. It was their hair that caused the most comment, especially Helen's; it was so soft and bright. For Helen's hair, though her eyes were dark, was of a light chestnut color. One woman had even gone so far as to offer a dozen eggs for a piece of it. Then she wanted to handle it, but this Helen declined. The woman's eyes and her manner made her nervous. But Dorothy, more assured than Helen, took hers from its fastenings, shaking it about her shoulders, then stood beyond reach of the outstretched hands, laughing merrily at the expressions of countenance and the somewhat wild gesticulations.

"Oh, Dorothy, how can you do that?" remonstrated Helen.

"If it gives the poor things any enjoyment, I don't mind," replied Dorothy.

"But don't you see that the sight of it that way excites them the more?"

"Oh, it's good as a show," declared Joyce, almost shouting out in his delight. "Don't you mind sister, Miss Dorothy."

Things were in this hubbub when Mr. Reid, Clarence, and the runners appeared. Mr. Reid joined in the effort to induce the people to withdraw from the sampan, but without success. Then the thought struck him that he would appeal to the runners. It is safe to say he hadn't the least conception of the result or, much as he wanted to get rid of the people, he would have hesitated.

The runners at once charged pell-mell upon the surging crowd, shouting and yelling as though they were seeking to stampede a herd of cattle. Big hats, green coats, topknots, and wide trousers were soon jumbled together in a series of kaleidoscopic flashes, then quiet reigned once more around the sampan. The runners had done them this much good, if no more.

The sun had almost disappeared behind the neighboring hills, and the night, traveling fast in that region, would soon be upon them. Still the magistrate had not appeared. They felt now that he would not come until morning. They were much provoked. Mr. Kit-ze especially showed displeasure. He had planned to reach the next town ere tying up for the night. There had already been too much delay at Han-Kang. He felt considerable compunction over this, and had been doing his best ever since to make up for lost time, and now felt thoroughly exasperated over this unnecessary detention. But there was no other course save to await the magistrate's pleasure.

Supper eaten, with curious eyes all around watching their every movement, Mr. Reid prepared for the evening service. "We will go ashore," he said to Mr. Wilburn, "and take Mr. Chefoo. The others can join in from the sampan."

They had no trouble to gather the people about them. Great was the wonder that spread as the services proceeded. A hymn was sung, a prayer made, a Bible lesson read, which Mr. Chefoo explained. Then with Mr. Chefoo still as interpreter, Mr. Reid began to speak to them. His words were about Jesus, our one ever-loving, steadfast friend. Exclamations of surprise, then of interest, began to be heard. "Could it be possible," they asked each other, "that there was One in the world who could love as this one loved? who could and did give his friendship 'without money and without price'?"

As Mr. Reid ceased speaking, an old man approached him. Would the honorable teacher tell him again the name of this wonderful Friend? When told he kept repeating it over and over. Other touching incidents occurred. Many questions were asked. When Mr. Reid lay down to sleep that night, it was with the happy feeling that more than a passing impression had been made upon some hearts, as it was also with the determination that he would come again to break the bread of life to these hungry souls.

Even when the crowd had left the sampan, scattered by the impetuosity of the runners, Helen still felt nervous. The persistency with which the women had pressed about Dorothy and herself, their incoherent words, burning glances, and fierce gestures had wrought her up to a high pitch of excitement. It was a long while ere she could go to sleep, even though her father assured her that it was to the interest of the runners to keep close watch upon the sampan. When at last Helen fell into slumber, it was to be disturbed by unpleasant dreams. In the midst of one of these she awakened with a start. She surely was conscious now, and what a moment of horror it was! for a rough hand was feeling its way along the meshes of her hair. A voice she knew from both tone and accent was no friendly one, was muttering in a manner that made her heart almost stop its beating.


[2] Before the treaty of Korea with the United States, while yet it was known as the Hermit Nation, tablets bearing inscriptions similar to that quoted by the magistrate were placed at intervals throughout the country.




elen's first impulse was to scream, but with a great effort she controlled herself. Then, reaching up quickly, she grasped the hand between both of her own, holding on to it tightly. Instantly there was a frightened exclamation, and a violent movement on the other side of the straw curtain almost against which Helen's head lay. The next moment, the hand was wrenched away, and she heard a heavy splash in the water. Peering out through the opening between the curtains, she saw two Korean women moving away from the sampan. Thus she knew her midnight fright had been caused not through any evil intention but from the exercise of pure curiosity. They had but carried into effect the desire for a closer inspection of her hair.

So soundly did the other occupants of the sampan sleep that none of them were aroused by this incident, not even Dorothy. Thus it was an astonishing piece of news to them when Helen told it on the following morning.

Dorothy was overcome by admiration for Helen's coolness. "O Helen, are you sure you didn't scream, not the least little bit? Oh, I never could have taken it as you did," and she drew her breath quickly.

Others besides Dorothy had words of praise for Helen's fortitude. "Nine girls out of ten would have gone into hysterics," declared Clarence.

"Put the percentage lower," warned Dorothy, shaking her fist at him in well-feigned indignation.

"Well, seven out of ten then."

"Oh, that is much better."

It was long after breakfast when the magistrate condescended to appear. Then he kept them waiting an hour or more through his insatiable curiosity, for he must needs inspect everything in the boat, even to the faggots and the chicken coop. But at last they were off. They had been afraid that the man might attach himself to them again ere they left the village. However, up to the time of pushing off, they had seen nothing of him. He had been dropped on the way from the magistrate's the evening before, and evidently that was the last of him.

As they went along now, Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn were discussing the event, as well as the man's probable meaning when he had muttered the words "Marble Pagoda." Both missionaries knew of the old Marble Pagoda in Seoul, one of the curiosities of the place, though, strange to say, not many seemed to care to go about it. The natives especially shunned it, that is, a large percentage of them did. They declared that it was filled with demons and haunted by all kinds of evil spirits. It stood in one of the foulest parts of the city, just back of a narrow alley, and all around it were clustered wretched-looking hovels. It was said to be more than seven centuries old. It had been originally thirteen stories, but during the Japanese invasion of three centuries before, three stories had been taken off. Many of the chambers contained the richest carvings, especially that known as the room of the Five Hundred Disciples. That had the images of many of the Hindu divinities.

"I understand," said Mr. Wilburn, "that several bits of detached carving, some of them representing deities, and others the various stages of the progress of Buddha toward Nirvana, or the Buddhist heaven, have been found in the old pagoda up to a time within recent years. There is the story, not very old, of the young assistant of one of the Buddhist priests at a monastery in the mountains, who nearly forfeited his life by stealing one of the images that had been brought from the pagoda, a very rare and valuable one, by the way. But he escaped by the narrowest chance, though the priest hunted and hunted him for a long time, and may be doing it yet, for all I know."

"What a fortunate thing for our missionary labors," remarked Mr. Reid, "that Buddhism was long ago abolished throughout the kingdom, and only a little colony of the priests allowed here and there in remote places."

"Ah, my brother, but there are the horrors of demon worship with which to contend, and the stonelike barriers of ancestral worship to break away. The former is as bad as Buddhism, where it has taken deep hold."

"As it has in our sampan man here," observed Mr. Reid with a sigh. "Oh, if I could only see some impression made on him by our teachings, some little inclination toward the truth as it is alone found in the pure gospel of Jesus."

"Do not despair. He may turn to the better way in time. It seemed to me during the services last evening that he listened more intently than I had ever seen him. He seemed to be impressed too, by the questions that were asked, especially by the earnest ones of the old man."

"Oh, but he is so persistent in his devotions to that wretched little image he has. Only this morning I saw him fondling it. Sometimes I feel like taking it from him and pitching it far out into the stream."

"Oh but, father," said Helen earnestly, now joining the conversation because she felt that she must, "that would not be best, believe me."

"But how are we to teach them a better worship until we take their miserable idols from them?"

"Oh, father, we mustn't tear down to build up. If a man were living in an old and insecure house, we wouldn't pull it down over him, for fear of the damage it would do. If we were his true benefactors, we would simply invite him away from the old and into a better one."

"Well said!" declared Mr. Wilburn, his eyes shining. "You are a true reasoner, Miss Helen."

"But so long as they have these horrid images that they believe can counteract the evil effect of the demons, they will go on worshipping them. We must get them away."

"But not by compulsion, father."

"How then, Helen?"

"By love." She reached out and took his hand as she said the words, and began to pat it softly. Her lips trembled but her eyes met his bravely.

"Yes, my dear, yes, I know. When the heart is touched, love is the thing then with which to win them. But you can't pelt a stone wall with cotton, Helen, and hope to make any impression."

"But, my father, if cannon were used, what would be the result? Only devastation. We can't drive these poor things away from their idols. We must coax them."

"A woman's way, Helen. But, my daughter, you are doubtless right," he said a moment later. "I get so provoked at their persistency, their blind infatuation, I feel that I must use force, or at least warn them of God's wrath if they persist in their idolatry."

"Tell them of God's love ever waiting to receive them, you mean, father?"

"Yes, of God's love," repeated Mr. Wilburn, his eyes moistening as he looked at Helen, "the warm sunlight, gentle yet powerful, the one agent that, using no force, yet accomplishes what force cannot."

They made pleasant progress all that day and the next. The views of the river and from the river grew more and more picturesque. They had now passed beyond the range of hills on the highest point of which stood the fortress of Nam Han, with its garrison of Korean soldiers. The river had grown broader and its banks lower. They passed many beautiful islands and had more than one experience with rapids. While navigating these, Mr. Reid had insisted on the girls' going ashore attended by Mallard and Mr. Wilburn. This they did, joining the sampan a mile or so above after some rather exciting adventures with the natives. However, as there was no worse spirit displayed than that of curiosity, they suffered more annoyance than alarm.

Through a considerable part of that third afternoon they moved along in sight of several small villages inhabited by woodcutters and charcoal burners. At one of these Mr. Reid said he must stop, not only for the night but for much of the next day, for it was one that had been brought to the attention of his mission Board as an inviting field for the establishment of a station.

At first the people were alarmed when they caught sight of the strangers. But on the assurance of Mr. Chefoo and Mr. Kit-ze that all were friends, they released their chickens and their queer-looking little pigs, not much bigger than rabbits, which they had begun to put in pens at the approach of the sampan. They listened eagerly to what the missionaries had to say, pressed closely to them during the services, and had many questions to ask, all of an earnest character.

The magistrate too, at this place, to whom Mr. Reid had brought letters, treated them cordially and offered to assist him in any way he could. The chief men were also friendly and assured the missionaries that if they wanted to come and teach the new doctrine, they should have respectful attention.

One thing in connection with their stay at the village caused special happiness to Mr. Reid. Mr. Kit-ze had not only paid deep attention during the services, but he had remained thoughtful for some time thereafter. He had also come to both Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn with questions.

They remained all the next day, which was Friday, and that night at the village. Early the next morning the sampan was heading again up the river.

"Where shall we spend the Sabbath?" asked Mr. Reid.

"At Yo-Ju, I think, exalted teacher," replied Mr. Kit-ze. "If we pass the rapids without ill-luck, and push on steadily, we can reach there by the fall of the night."

But they had trying times at the rapids, the longest and the most dangerous yet encountered, so that the late afternoon found them a good half-day's journey from Yo-Ju. They had now come to the mountains in all their wildness and ruggedness. Silence fell upon the little party. No word could be spoken amid all that awe-inspiring beauty. Then Mr. Reid's voice broke the stillness as he repeated the ninety-seventh Psalm, "The Lord reigneth."

Though the way was so wildly picturesque on either side, yet the river at this place flowed peacefully along, washing about the shore of green islets or lapping the steep banks with a gentle murmur.

Suddenly, from the midst of some overhanging vines near which they were passing, there came a loud hail. Then a voice added in very good English: "Pause, friends! O exalted teacher, do I see you once more?"

"Why, that voice sounds familiar," said Mr. Reid. "Head the sampan toward the cliff, Mr. Kit-ze, and let us see what it means."

Mr. Kit-ze had no more than started to obey when a small flat boat came out from the overhanging bank and made toward them. It had three occupants, an elderly man who was sitting midway of it, and two younger ones who were propelling it. The old man was bolt upright despite his years, and made an interesting and picturesque figure with his snow-white hair, which, as is altogether unusual in Koreans, was falling about his shoulders, and with his partly civilized dress.

"Why, it is Mr. Ko!" cried Joyce.

"Yes," said Helen, a smile breaking over her face, "it is he, sure enough. Oh, how glad I am!"

"Old friend," cried Mr. Reid delighted, "can it be that I greet you again?"

"Yes, exalted master. Your old servant heard you were coming up the river. So, lo, since the evening of yesterday he has been watching for you."


Mr. Reid now introduced Mr. Ko to Mr. Wilburn and the others. The old Korean had lived for years at the capital. There he had known the missionary and his family through three or four years. During two of these he had lived at the mission as gate-keeper and errand man. Mr. Reid had heard that he had inherited some property and had gone away from Seoul.

The old man was quite a character. He had shown considerable devotion to the missionary and his family, but Mr. Reid, with all his efforts in Mr. Ko's behalf, had never been able to get the old man further than the admission that the Jesus doctrine was a very fair sort of doctrine and, if he only had the time, he would give himself over to the practice of it.

Now the old man was delighted at seeing the missionary and his children again. They must spend some time with him, he declared. Everything had been prepared for them. He had even secured a cook who could give them the food as they liked it. Oh, this was a wonderful man, indeed. Only yesterday he had come. "The good spirits sent him," asserted Mr. Ko, "I am certain they did."

Nothing would do the old man but that Helen, at least, must have a glimpse of this wonderful cook the moment she reached the dwelling.

"There he is," said Mr. Ko, with the delight of a child, pointing through an opening into the kitchen.

A tall figure was bending over the ang-pak, or great rice jar. At sound of Mr. Ko's voice he raised his head and glanced around. It was the stowaway of the sampan.




elen uttered an exclamation, then moved toward Mr. Ko. He read the expression of her face quickly.

"You know him?" he asked.

"I do not know him, but I have seen him. He was on the sampan with us after we left Han-Kang."

"Why, he did not tell me that! He only said that he had seen the honorable teacher and that he was coming. But no matter," continued Mr. Ko, and looking encouragingly toward the man. "He did not tell me because he had some reason not to. It is all right," he added cheerfully. "You may go on with the cooking."

"I know him," he said, turning again to Helen. "He was my neighbor in Seoul two years ago. He is a good sort of fellow, only there seems to be something on his mind. I don't understand that. Never did."

A deep perplexity now came to Helen. She could not decide whether or not to let the others know of the presence of the man at Mr. Ko's. She finally reached the decision to tell her father and Clarence and maybe Dorothy. There was, perhaps, after all, nothing wrong about the man. He had really done nothing to arouse their suspicions, only remained silent and sullen when he was questioned. She knew that her father believed that he had merely been stealing a ride. The only mysterious thing about him at present was his having so swiftly preceded them to Mr. Ko's. She afterward learned that he had fallen in with another sampan almost as soon as he had left them, and had worked his way up the river. While they lingered at the villages he had traveled.

Though Mr. Ko had adopted some of the ways of civilization, he still ate very much after the Korean fashion. Thus when they sat down to supper it was at little round tables not more than a foot or a foot and a half high. Instead of cloths, they were covered with sheets of glazed paper. Rice was the principal diet. It was set in an earthenware bowl near the center of each table. In addition there was a soup of beef and onions thickened with barley, a batter bread made of flour and oil and a slight sprinkling of sugar, chicken curry, eggs, and rice fritters. Mr. Ko also had tea, a rarity for the rural districts of Korea.

As Mr. Ko, Mr. Kit-ze, and Mr. Chefoo ate, they made a great noise with their mouths. This was done to show their appreciation of the viands, for in Korea, the greater the noise made while eating, the more forcefully defined is the compliment to the food.

Mr. Ko's house was much better than that of the average farmer. It was built of poles, mud-daubed, but the walls of the principal rooms were covered with paper. There were little windows of thick glazed paper while the doors were set in frames of light bamboo. The sleeping arrangements consisted principally of mats with blocks of wood for pillows. In the winter the beds were made over the brick flues that ran through the rooms connected with the great oven where the baking was done. Thus, in winter, to sleep in a Korean house means to roast and freeze by turns, for while the fire is kept up it is hot indeed, and when it is allowed to go out then "cold as a stone" gives the literal condition of a brick bed.

The house stood in a grove of mulberries, for to his other pursuits Mr. Ko added that of silkworm raising. There were clumps too, of the walnut and persimmon, with vines of the white and yellow clematis tangled amid their branches. Here the birds built, and here they poured forth their morning songs or chattered to their mates as they were going to bed at night. In front were the fields of wheat and barley, and farther down, in the very heart of the valley, the crops of rice. As it was near the end of April, the barley was already in ear and beginning to take on its russet coloring.

Mr. Ko, being an old bachelor, there were only men about the house. He had a saying with reference to which Clarence teased Helen and Dorothy rather unmercifully. It was to the effect that where there were women there was sure to be trouble.

"Oh, but Mr. Ko likes girls!" asserted Helen. "You can't make me believe otherwise, Master Clarence. He and I have been too long good friends."

"What was that I heard him say last night?" asked Dorothy, a mischievous light in her eyes, "about sons and how they were like dragon's teeth in the sides of their parents?"

Clarence looked rather sheepish at this quick turning of the tables on himself, and in a moment or so dexterously changed the conversation.

On the following day, which was the Sabbath, two services were held in Mr. Ko's mulberry grove. At the first not many were present, but by afternoon scores had flocked to the place from the neighboring farms and from the village. Curiosity was plainly depicted on all the faces, but as Mr. Reid proceeded, it changed to eager attention on the part of several. Mr. Chefoo made a good interpreter. He was both careful and earnest. Already the sweet, simple truths the missionary taught were beginning to make their appeal to his own heart. It was the old story of Jesus and his sweet ministrations to men, his sympathy for them, his understanding of their needs, the great, warm, deep love that took in all, even the poorest and humblest.

"And this Jesus is the same now as then," continued the missionary. "He is waiting to enter each heart and to possess it, to have our lives drawn nearer to his own, to bestow upon us the sweet knowledge of that companionship with him that may be ours through all the way."

The services were barely concluded when Mr. Kit-ze came to ask questions. Gladness was in Mr. Reid's heart as he saw the moved, wondering look upon the boatman's face. He wanted to know if this Jesus, who could do so much for men, who wanted to be their friend, was very rich and powerful? Could he bestow honor and wealth as well as friendship?

Mr. Kit-ze was told that the provisions of honor and wealth did not enter into Jesus' plans for the happiness of his people. He himself had shown his condemnation of the grasping hand, the covetous heart, by declaring that he who desired to be the greatest should be the least of all and servant to all.

"But he gives that to us which is better than all the honor and riches of earth," continued Mr. Reid; "he gives us contentment of life and peace of heart. Would not you think these far better than money or land, my friend?"

Mr. Kit-ze did not know. He had thought that it would indeed be a very fine thing to possess land and cattle and so comfortable a home as that of Mr. Ko.

This, then, had been the thought uppermost with Mr. Kit-ze when contemplating the character of Jesus, the Divine Friend, and the thought of the possible worldly elevation the friendship might bring him. The missionary felt a deep pain at his heart as he realized whither Mr. Kit-ze's thoughts had led him. But at the same time there was something in his attitude to inspire hope. Mr. Kit-ze had been impressed. That was plainly evident. His mind was in a deep whirl of thought. Other and better things would surely be evolved from it in the end. Many times during that day he made fervent petition for Mr. Kit-ze.

Mr. Kit-ze's perplexity increased as one thought after another came to him. The exalted teacher had not answered as he had hoped. All was still so uncertain, so unsatisfactory. Ah, now he knew what he would do! He would go to the daughter of the honorable teacher, to her who had the soft voice, the gentle ways, the kind heart. She could make it plain, she would tell it so that it would reach his understanding.

Helen's heart leaped as Mr. Kit-ze asked her the questions. She could see how deeply in earnest he was. Oh, could it be that he was at last awakened, that he would search until he had found the truth, would accept Jesus as the one faithful Friend? His first and second questions aroused these thoughts; but the third, how it disturbed her, as it had also disturbed her father. It was the same question about earthly honor and wealth.

"Dear Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, taking his hand, and at that moment he felt that he would have done anything for her, "those who truly love Jesus, who have taken him as their Friend, do not think of such things in connection with what Jesus does for them. They know that whatever is best for them he will send, that whatever of good gifts they will use happily, he will bestow. But further than this they do not go, for, Mr. Kit-ze, when once we have taken Jesus, we must trust him for everything. We must not question or ask him for this thing or the other. Thus, Mr. Kit-ze, if you had a worldly friend, one in whom you believed with all the mind, in whom you trusted with all the heart, would you not willingly follow that friend wherever he bade you go and take everything from him as meant for your good?"

"Oh, yes," said Mr. Kit-ze, "oh, yes."

"Well, thus it is with Jesus. When we take him for our Friend, truly take him, we do not require anything of him. We leave all that to him and only trust him. He loves us. Oh, how he loves, Mr. Kit-ze! He is the truest lover in all the world. Could he, or would he, then, do aught else but what is best for the one beloved?"

"Oh, daughter of the exalted teacher," said the boatman, his voice tremulous with some new-found emotion, "you have put that into Mr. Kit-ze's heart which will make him think, think!" He went away with his hand still pressed upon his heart and murmuring to himself.

Helen had told her father of the presence of the stowaway in Mr. Ko's kitchen, and of her great surprise at finding him there.

"Oh, I suppose there isn't anything mysterious about it, Helen," her father made answer; "nothing to be dreaded from him, I know. He looked inoffensive enough, though sullen, and you remember we didn't find anything on his person. I am only astonished at the rapidity with which he has made his way up the river; but from what you have since learned and have told me, that too is clear."

Helen was glad her father took the man's presence in this way. She really felt sorry for the poor fellow. He had looked at her so pathetically the evening before ere she left the kitchen with Mr. Ko, and had murmured something in which she caught the words, "No harm, no harm." His eyes had not then the burning look she had noticed when they were fixed upon Mr. Kit-ze. Instead, they were soft and pleading.

She was ready now to tell Clarence and Dorothy. They had walked down to the bluff for a view of the river and of the track of the setting sun as it moved across the water like some golden-freighted craft.

Clarence, boylike, whistled his astonishment at the communication. "Why, Helen, how did he ever manage to get here so far ahead of us?" he asked at length. "It seems almost incredible."

"On a sampan, as I have told you Mr. Ko informed me. There isn't anything so strange about that. What troubles me is the feeling that he is following us."

"I think this time we followed him," observed Clarence trying to be a little witty.

"But he was evidently awaiting us here."

"Then we'll ask him his business," declared Clarence.


"No, Clarence, no," entreated Helen. "That might be the worst thing. I am sure he means no harm. Let us wait and see if he attempts to follow us away from here. Then we might inquire into his conduct."

"I feel sorry for him," said Dorothy. "I can't help it, though he may mean no good. He looked so pitiful when he was being dragged away to the magistrate. He was frightened too, but he didn't have the appearance of one who contemplated wrong-doing."

"I feel in that way myself," said Helen. "I——"

But ere she finished the sentence, they were attracted by the noise of a step behind them. Turning, they saw the one whom they were discussing. With a hasty movement he prostrated himself before them; then extending his hands, entreated: "O friends, hear the story of poor Choi-So!"




uch a pathetic story as it was for the most part! One that caused the young people to listen to it with the deepest interest.

Choi-So's mother had died when he was very young, too young to remember her. The woman who raised him had cruelly treated him. She had not only half-starved him, but she had often severely beaten him. Choi-So had not said it in so many words, but he gave his young hearers the impression that this treatment had so dazed him that his head was not altogether right. Sometimes he was like one in a mist, as he expressed it.

His father was a very religious man. He was a dreamer too, a bad combination, since when one is constantly wandering away in thought, many of the plainest duties that are allied to a religious profession are apt to be neglected. He was a worker in straw. He made shoes and ropes and mats, the latter beautifully woven. He received a fair price for his work, and there was no reason why his child should have been starved except that the money that ought to have gone to his nourishment was appropriated to her own use by an unscrupulous woman while the father wove his mats and dreamed.

Mr. Ang-su, Choi-So's father, had spent many years of his life in Japan. There he had married Choi-So's mother. There too, he had acquired his deep religious convictions. He was a devout Buddhist. As he sat and dreamed his young son entered into many of these dreams, was, in truth, the chief figure therein. Far better would it have been could he have occupied even for half the length of time his father's practical thought. Thus it came about that at eighteen Choi-So was sent to one of the Buddhist monasteries in the mountains, there to be prepared for the priesthood. Five years were spent in the dreary, monotonous routine that made up his life there. So many times during each period of twenty-four hours, from midnight till midnight again, he must hasten to the temple at sound of drum or bell, there to prostrate himself on the stone floor before the bow-kneed, brass-faced god, repeating, "Namu Amit abul! Namu Amit abul!" (I put my trust in Buddha! I put my trust in Buddha!) One hundred and eight times he did this without stopping, to an accompaniment of bells, sometimes sounding soft and silvery, or again ringing out with harsh, loud clangor.

He was also taught to take no life, not even that of a mosquito. If one troubled him more than he could endure, the venerable abbot instructed him that he was simply to get up and "shoo" it gently out of the room. His fare was hard and unsatisfying, consisting all the year round of rice and pressed seaweed, for no one who lived to the glory of Buddha must touch meat. Sad to say, this life was just the one that appealed to the melancholy boy. He had inherited much of his father's religious concentration and dreaminess of manner. Instead of having the desire to run away from this hard life, he daily applied himself the more earnestly to the task of learning to please Buddha, of so living that he might attain Nirvana! That was his highest desire.

One day, just at the close of his five years, he came upon Mr. Kit-ze stranded upon the river bank, bruised and broken. He had had a desperate struggle for life in the rapids. Three ribs were broken and an arm badly injured. He had lost his cargo, and had very nearly lost his sampan; but, injured though he was, he had managed to cling to the latter and to get it safely to shore. However, it would need much in the way of repairs ere it could be used again. Choi-So, in deep pity for the wounded boatman, went for help, and had him assisted to the monastery. Mr. Kit-ze was conducted through the great arched gateway and into the reception hall. There the venerable abbot had come to him, and uttered the words of welcome, "Peace be unto you," and had then bidden that he be led away and his wounds treated.

For two weeks Mr. Kit-ze had remained at the monastery. He had ingratiated himself into the favor of the priests. Especially had he won the trust and goodwill of Choi-So. The young man was his devoted attendant. The boatman was given many privileges. He was even permitted to look through a small sliding panel upon the priests at their devotions. This room, to which the monks were called so many times each day to their prayers, began to hold a deep fascination for Mr. Kit-ze. Its rich carvings, its many images, above all, the great bronze statue of the Buddha with the various smaller ones grouped about it, so chained his attention that for moments at a time he would continue to gaze as though spellbound.

Choi-So had explained to him the mission of these smaller images. They were to teach man the various stages through which he was to pass ere Nirvana could be attained. Thus they were helps in the progress of life. Any one of them could bring to mind what man hoped, what he inherited through the strength and the faithfulness of Buddha. Much of this was unintelligible to Mr. Kit-ze. He knew nothing of Buddha, nor cared to know. But the images represented something that did appeal to him. This much he understood, or at least thought he understood. Any one of them brought good fortune to its possessor. That is the way he had read Choi-So's explanation.

Mr. Kit-ze's mind was ripe for a suggestion of this kind. Among the losses he had sustained through the catastrophe in the rapids was one he felt more keenly than the others. Deeply superstitious, as is the greater part of his race, Mr. Kit-ze believed devoutly in the efficacy of certain charms. A grotesque figure he had carried on his person for years had again and again helped him to elude the demons that waited for him in the rapids. But for this his sampan would never have had the many safe journeys through the dangerous parts of the river, and but for the loss of this image during the earlier part of his late struggle in the rapids, calamity would never have befallen. He must replace this charm, this wonderful image of protection and helpfulness. What better could be found than what was here represented in this chamber, sacred to the great god before whom the priests prostrated themselves, and of whose power they made such astonishing recitals? Had he not been informed of the marvelous things that could be accomplished through the possession of even one of the images, of the part each bore in the fortune of man? He could not enter the chamber himself. He must work through Choi-So.


Poor Choi-So was in a sore state of mind at that time. Again and again he had felt, as he had described himself, like one walking in a mist. His father had recently died. For weeks now he had remained unburied, a custom very prevalent in Korea until such a funeral as the mourners desire can be given. His savings had been squandered by the wife who had so ill-treated Choi-So. There was nothing with which to lay the corpse away as the dutiful son felt would be fitting. So he waited and waited, praying and hoping and longing for the means to do honor to his father, or else become a wretched, miserable son, despised of all who knew him. It was then that Mr. Kit-ze tempted him, repeating the temptation until poor Choi-So had finally yielded. The image was stolen, but, to Mr. Kit-ze's shame, only a part of the price agreed upon had been paid. When Choi-So had followed him, beseeching the remainder, it was but to be cast off roughly. Another time he was threatened with the magistrate, and with exposure. This last threat drove Choi-So back to the monastery. But the theft had been discovered and traced to him. A companion priest informed him in time for Choi-So to make his escape ere the terrible punishment in store overtook him.

Since then he had been a wanderer. He knew that his brother priests had sent one of their number in pursuit of him. His one object now was to recover the image, return it, and suffer the consequences. He could never be happy again until he had done it. He could never attain Nirvana until reparation had been made and the image placed once more in the mystic circle about the Buddha. For three years now he had wandered in search of Mr. Kit-ze, but as the boatman had moved away from his old quarters at Seoul, poor Choi-So, for all his search, had never laid eyes upon him until that day on the river bank at Han-Kang.

This story had been told in a broken way, and as Choi-So had but a small knowledge of English and his youthful listeners far from a full one of Korean, it was only by putting it together piece by piece, one supplying a link here and another one there, that they finally understood him.

"Oh, friends," he entreated, holding out his hands pathetically to his hearers, at the conclusion of his story, "pity the sorrows of poor Choi-So. Help him to recover that which is the only thing that can bring peace to him again!"

"The red miriok!" exclaimed Clarence, and looked at Helen significantly.

"Yes," said Helen, "the red miriok. I had already felt that it had something to do with this poor man's following us."

Then she told them of her impressions on the river bank as she had first noted Choi-So and the manner in which his gaze had been riveted upon Mr. Kit-ze and the red miriok. "Poor thing," she continued, her eyes fixed pityingly upon Choi-So, "it is all very serious to him, and we can see how he has suffered through it."

"But how can we help him?" asked Dorothy. Her sympathies too were deeply aroused. "Mr. Kit-ze will never give up the image, I fear," she continued.

"We might make him do it," said Clarence quickly, "or pay him to do it."

"No," said Helen emphatically; "we cannot. Neither will do."

"What then?" asked Clarence.

"We might win him to the better way," said Helen softly. "We might coax him to give up this wretched little image for the sweeter things we could help him to attain."

"What! Mr. Kit-ze?" cried Clarence incredulously. "Never! He is too hardened."

"Clarence, how wrong to say that! Has not God's love shown its power to reach even those more hardened than Mr. Kit-ze?"

"But what can we do for this poor fellow here?" repeated Dorothy.

Helen turned her eyes upon Choi-So. As she noted the lean and pallid face, the deep-set eyes in which the light of fanaticism burned steadily, courage, hope, both left her. "Oh, I am sure I don't know!" she cried in despair.

Just at that moment Mallard was seen hastening down the path toward them. From the manner in which he came they felt sure he was the bearer of a message of some kind. "I have bad news," he said as he approached.

"Oh, what is it?" cried Helen, thinking instantly of her father.

"Do not be alarmed, cousin," he hastened to assure her. "It is nothing so dreadful. There has been an accident. Mr. Chefoo slipped at a steep place on the river bank, fell, and has broken his arm."




es, Mr. Chefoo had broken his arm. It was too bad! for aside from the pain and discomfort that it gave him, how were they to get on with the sampan without him? It is true, it was not a very severe fracture, only one of the smaller bones having been broken; but it would be at least two weeks ere he could use it again. In the meantime, what was to be done? Mr. Kit-ze could not manage the sampan alone. Some one must help him pole as well as keep the boat within the proper channel. It would be a very one-sided and unsatisfactory progress if the sampan were propelled from only one end.

Mr. Ko thought of a half-dozen men who were at hand, but none were reliable. It would be better without them than with them, especially as there were rapids to be passed. Mr. Ko was very much disturbed over the accident to Mr. Chefoo, because of its having occurred at his place. He was sure a demon had caused it. It was the demon in the well, he finally decided, since Mr. Chefoo had been at the well ere proceeding down the path where the accident occurred. The demon must be appeased, he declared, and forthwith proceeded to throw rice into the well. Now Mr. Chefoo's arm would rapidly mend, he asserted.

Monday morning had come, and still there seemed no prospect of resuming the journey to Yo Ju.

"We must get on," said Mr. Reid, "our time is limited. We must make some arrangement for an assistant for Mr. Kit-ze."

Mr. Chefoo had now a high fever and was unable to sit up. It had been decided to leave him with Mr. Ko until their return, which would be in about three days, as they were not going much beyond Yo Ju.

In the midst of their perplexity Mr. Ko came to them with a beaming face. He knew the very thing! Why had he not thought of it before? They could take Mr. Choi-So. Now that his honorable guests were about to depart, he, Mr. Ko, would not need his cook. Mr. Choi-So himself was anxious to go along with them. He had approached Mr. Ko on the subject. He was an excellent poleman, quick and careful. He had several times assisted in carrying sampans up and down the river, twice for Mr. Ko himself. Besides, he bore an excellent character. Mr. Ko knew him. He had known his father too.

"I see no reason why we shouldn't take him," said Mr. Reid.


But Mr. Wilburn opposed this. He had not liked the man's concealment of himself in the sampan, neither had he been favorably impressed by his appearance on that occasion. His sullen, hang-dog look had betokened anything but innocence. He could have been after no good. Mr. Wilburn's suspicions had been strengthened by the presence of Choi-So at Mr. Ko's.

Neither Mr. Reid nor Mr. Wilburn had learned the story of the red miriok, or image of Buddha, as it ought more properly to be designated. The young people, after consulting among themselves, had decided to tell no one, at least not until they could agree on some plan. Mr. Choi-So had given them his confidence. He evidently trusted them and believed that they could help him. If he wanted the others to know too, then he would tell them. He showed plainly that he feared Mr. Wilburn and was not at ease with Mr. Reid. Helen and Clarence both felt that they wanted their father to know, but they respected Mr. Choi-So's feelings. Perhaps he would himself tell the missionary.

Things were in this unsatisfactory state when Mr. Choi-So's offer to attend them as poleman was made known. The young people were pleased. It was the very thing, they thought. It would give them more time to decide upon some action, for the desire was now keen with each one to secure the miriok from Mr. Kit-ze and return it to Mr. Choi-So.

"The poor fellow will go demented if we do not," declared Clarence. "He is half crazy on the subject, anyhow. We can at least try to give him peace of mind."

"I wish we could give him something else," added Helen wistfully.

"But we can't," asserted Clarence; "at least not now. His mind is too upset about the miriok. Besides, Mr. Kit-ze has really treated him dishonestly. He ought to be made to give the image back to him. The poor fellow has pinched and saved until he has the amount Mr. Kit-ze paid, so he told us."

"Oh," said Helen, "if only I could talk to this poor Choi-So so that it would go to his mind and then to his heart, how happy I should be! If only I could show him that this image for which he is willing to sacrifice life itself is only a wretched little piece of metal!"

"But he ought to carry it back," said Clarence.

"And run the chance of being thrown into a dungeon, fed on bread and water, and kept there perhaps for years without ever hearing of a single one of the sweet and precious things Jesus wants to do for him? Oh, it is dreadful! He had better lose the miriok."

"And lose his mind with it? No, my sister, believe me that is not the right way for poor Choi-So. Let us get the miriok for him—that is, if we can—and perhaps afterward we may induce him to return it by messenger and listen to us."

Mr. Wilburn was finally induced, through Mr. Reid's clear and forceful way of presenting the matter to him, to withdraw his opposition to Choi-So's accompanying them as poleman; but not so Mr. Kit-ze. He had been the last one to discover Choi-So's presence at Mr. Ko's, and this had been only a short time before the stowaway's offer to take Mr. Chefoo's place. The old boatman made quick and stormy objections. He would not, he declared, permit such an idiot to handle a pole of his sampan, for he was one who had no sense for moving his hands two ways at once. If ever he had had any sense it was under his arm, for it certainly had never been put into his head for the lack of room there.

But after a time Mr. Kit-ze grew cooler and seemed, to some extent, to be ashamed of his outburst, especially as Helen had now drawn near to him and taking his hand, was gazing at him reproachfully.

"Don't say that, Mr. Kit-ze," she said. "You don't really know that he can't help you with the sampan, do you?" regarding him steadily. "Only try him, won't you? Think what it means to us to be delayed here. Oh, we must go on, and you must help us, Mr. Kit-ze, by your consent. Perhaps it will only be to Yo Ju, as we may find another poleman there to suit us."

Thus Helen pleaded, and little by little Mr. Kit-ze's heart relented, his opposition relaxed, till he at length agreed to Choi-So's accompanying them as far as Yo Ju. But the stipulations were that he was not to move from his end of the sampan, and at night he was to leave them.

"Mr. Kit-ze is afraid of him," commented Mr. Wilburn. "He can read the rascal in him as plainly as I can."

"I hope it will be proved ere we part from our poleman, that both you and Mr. Kit-ze are mistaken," said Mr. Reid earnestly. "I can't believe that there is anything vicious in the man. He hasn't at all that appearance to me. To my eye it is more an anxiety to get up the river than anything else I can detect."

Mr. Ko was pleased that they had finally decided to take Mr. Choi-So. "You won't regret it," he asserted. "He'll take you over the rapids better than any one I know; and," he concluded, looking at Mr. Reid a little peculiarly, "it's my opinion you won't dismiss him at Yo Ju. At any rate, I'll have you a good poleman by the time you come back."

By ten o'clock they were ready to be off, having bidden good-bye to poor Mr. Chefoo after having spoken all the consoling words to him they could.

In honor of their departure, Mr. Ko had donned a spotless suit of white. He had also sought to enhance his appearance by adding an immense pair of spectacles, which he had purchased at considerable outlay, from an old scholar. It mattered not that one lens was entirely lacking and the other was so badly cracked that it was a question as to whether Mr. Ko could use the vision of that eye with any satisfactory effect. All the same, he stood upon the bank waving his fan majestically, his little black eye gleaming from out the great round space where the lens ought to have been, and all the time shouting out to them in Korean, "Come back again to-morrow!" That meant, "Return as soon as you can."

Mr. Choi-So soon proved his right to all the good things Mr. Ko had spoken of him. He was an excellent poleman, both alert and careful. He helped engineer the boat safely through the rapids in a manner that called forth grunts of approval from even Mr. Kit-ze.

About four o'clock in the afternoon they came in sight of Yo Ju. Besides being a city of considerable size, it was noted as the birthplace of the queen, and the king had caused two or three public structures to be erected in her honor.

There were many sampans, junks, and other rude craft at anchor in front of the city, and they had much difficulty in making their way through them. But at length they reached the shore safely. They had not more than tied up when an immense crowd began to gather about the sampan, even wading out into the water. The crowd was not only curious, but annoying. They handled the clothes and hair of our friends, and even tried to run their hands over their faces. But to this not only protest but resistance was offered.

Soon after reaching the bank, Mallard had climbed out on an end of the sampan and steadied his camera for a snap of the city. He thought it a splendid opportunity, as the sun was falling full upon the great gateway and the queer looking buildings grouped near to it. He at once attracted the attention of the crowd. Great curiosity was aroused as to his intention, and soon men, women, and children were rushing toward him. They clambered up the side of the sampan. They pressed about him until there wasn't space to hold another foot. They poked fingers into eyes and ears and nose; they shouted in glee as they caught the flash of the lens in the instrument, and tried to pull it out. In consternation Mallard endeavored first to protect himself, then his camera, and was finally pushed into the water, saving the latter from both a smashing and a wetting by the narrowest margin.

The same curiosity followed them as they went up into a gate tower for a view of the city. The crowd pressed about them so they could barely enter. Even after they began to ascend the stairs the curious throng crowded about them so that the entire space was filled. When they attempted to come down again, to their consternation they found they could not. They had finally to make their way back from the outside, a rough and somewhat dangerous undertaking. Fortunately neither was Joyce nor were the two girls with them.

"This will never do," said Mr. Reid. "We must get away from this terribly curious crowd, for the annoyance they give us will become more than a burden after a while. Mr. Kit-ze, is there no place, not so far away, where we can tie up without the prospect of having such curiosity as this to endure?"

"Yes, honorable teacher, not so far away is the temple of the great Dragon. There are overhanging trees, a quiet river bed, and not many people who will come to gaze."

"Then let us go there by all means. To-morrow morning we'll find our chance to enter the city."

They made their way out through the forest of river craft and up the stream again. The great temple stood directly on the banks of the Han, some little distance from the city. It was a beautiful spot, picturesquely so, for in addition to the brick and stone pagodas that gleamed through the trees, there was a number of small islands clustered about, covered with low-growing verdure and spangled with the blossoms of the pink and white azalea.

The temple in itself had much with which they could occupy their time. Among other things was a quaint bell, in a perfect network of dragons, said to be more than five hundred years old. But as the sun was near to its setting as they came to anchor in a quiet spot along the banks, they decided to do no exploring for that afternoon.

Mr. Kit-ze had spoken truly, "there were not many who came to gaze." Though it was a kind of outlying village and had several hundred inhabitants, yet only a few of them appeared on the arrival of the sampan. Most seemed closely occupied with their pursuits. However, a little group of women and children pressed near to the sampan, but no one proved offensive except a mutang (sorceress), who, in the end, gave them considerable trouble. She contended that she must be given two yen so as to decide for them whether or not the Dragon would be pleased at their stay in the front of the temple. She finally fell to one yen, then to six hundred "cash," but still our travelers paid no attention to her.

She had an evil eye, Dorothy asserted, and further declared that she knew she could not sleep that night for thinking of her.

Mr. Kit-ze showed even more impatience with her than the others. They didn't need her divinations, he told her, for they had that with them that could overcome any evil from the dragon. Then he injudiciously gave her a view of the red miriok. How her keen little black eyes glowed as she caught sight of it! and the sudden look she cast upon Mr. Kit-ze made Helen, who was closely watching the scene, feel uneasy despite herself.

Helen had been earnestly regarding Mr. Kit-ze through a large part of that afternoon. There was that in his manner that at times disturbed her, but again it seemed as though hope were creeping into her heart. He had been absent-minded and dejected for much of the way, but now and then he had aroused himself. At such times he had turned with keen glances in the direction of Choi-So, studying every lineament of the young man's face, it seemed to Helen. Always these searching looks were bestowed upon Choi-So when he was not in turn regarding Mr. Kit-ze. Helen was sure that better feelings were stirring at the heart of Mr. Kit-ze on these occasions, for she could see how his eyes softened and his lips moved nervously as he continued to gaze.

According to agreement Choi-So had been dismissed as night approached; but Helen, who had been very observant, was sure he was not far away. Indeed, while walking on the bank for exercise, she had caught sight of his face from a small clump of bushes only a few steps from where she was. She decided at once that she would not call attention to him. Her heart was tender for him. She did not believe that he would do harm. Soon silence settled down around the sampan, for its inmates had retired to rest. Several hours of the night passed away. All were supposed to be asleep except Mr. Kit-ze, whose watch it was. But, after a while, Mr. Kit-ze too yielded to slumber.

Suddenly Helen awoke. It was with a strange, restless feeling. It seemed to her that there had been an uneasy consciousness even in the midst of her slumber. She tried to go sleep again, but could not.

"I think the air in here must be a little too close," Helen thought after a few moments. She raised herself and leaned toward the heavy curtain of straw. Then she rolled it partly upward, secured it to the fastenings, and looked out. She was sleeping at the side of the sampan next to the shore. All was quiet. She could see no one. Then she let her eyes glance toward the bow of the boat. Mr. Kit-ze was huddled down in his little boxlike apartment sound asleep.

"Oh," said Helen, "this will never do! I must call my father to awaken him."

But even as she started to move toward her father's apartment, she stopped again, almost transfixed. A hand had cautiously made its way up the side of the sampan, and was now directing itself toward Mr. Kit-ze's breast.




he hand moved nearer and nearer Mr. Kit-ze's breast; a moment more and it had buried itself in the folds of his robe. Even as Helen continued to gaze like one transfixed, ere yet she had the power to recover herself, a face appeared above the hand. But it was not the face she had expected to see—that of Mr. Choi-So. Instead, the moonlight showed her clearly the repulsive countenance of the old mutang.

There are moments when sudden excitement leads us into a line of action our cooler moments would by no means approve, when quick emotions bring impulses that are followed without a pause for reasoning. Such a time had now come to Helen. Mr. Kit-ze was being robbed. She could see that plainly. The thief was the old mutang, and the object of her theft, it almost instantly flashed into Helen's mind, was the red miriok. In truth, even as the intuition came to her, she saw the hideous little image in the woman's hand.

All Helen's energies were now bent toward a frustration of the old woman's design of carrying away the miriok. She, Helen, must recover it ere the mutang got off with it. For if the miriok disappeared, how could she ever carry out her good intentions for either Mr. Kit-ze or Choi-So? All would be frustrated. For would not Mr. Kit-ze be violently angry? and would he not at once charge the theft to Choi-So? And what might not happen? As to poor Choi-So, he would surely grow demented when he found that the image had gone beyond his reach—oh, she felt that he would!

In her sudden excitement, Helen never stopped for reasoning. Hence it did not occur to her that her testimony would exonerate Choi-So with Mr. Kit-ze, nor that, so far as the part relating to Choi-So was concerned the old mutang might be located and the stolen image recovered.

All that Helen then thought of was the recovery of the miriok. She must get it and at once. Even now the woman was slipping away with it. If she waited to arouse the others the old woman would be gone, for at the first sounds of alarm, she would speed away like a hunted animal up the bank. Helen knew the magic influence of money, especially of shining yen. Had not the old woman shown her greed for them during the afternoon? If the miriok could be recovered, it would surely be through the agency of the yen.

Both girls had lain down in the loose wrappers they wore for comfort during a part of the day. In the pocket of hers Helen had her purse. Besides a few smaller silver pieces there were in it three yen.

She leaned quickly over Dorothy; she placed her arm under her neck and gently shook her, all the while whispering: "Get up quickly, dear, and come with me. Don't speak out, don't question; only come and be quick! quick!"

Fortunately, Dorothy was not hard to arouse when once she had been touched. Like some even heavy sleepers whom a vigorous call cannot awaken, the touch was like magic. In a second or so she was fully awake, and gazing at Helen in deep wonder but alert.

"It is the red miriok!" said Helen to Dorothy again in a whisper. "The old mutang has come and stolen it from Mr. Kit-ze. He does not know it, and there is no time to arouse him and the others. We must recover it. If we are quick we can overtake her before she gets away. Then this will accomplish the rest," she added, confidently holding up the purse.

The mutang had now sprung down from the side of the sampan into which she had crept, and was moving rapidly up the slight incline when Helen and Dorothy in turn reached the bank. She saw them almost instantly and, with a muffled cry, very much like the growl of an animal, increased her speed.

"Stop!" said Helen in low tones, and as persuasively as she could. "Stop! We only want to talk to you. We mean no harm."

But the old woman either did not understand them or she would not stop. It was evidently the latter, for as much as she could, she quickened her pace. But swift as she was, Helen and Dorothy were even swifter. They were only a pace or two behind her as the top of the bank was reached.

It was not far from daylight. The signs of the approaching dawn had already begun to appear along the eastern sky. At the brow of the bluff and stretching away from the temple, was the village of rude mud huts, with now and then a more pretentious one showing in their midst. There was one principal street which ran along between the rows of huts. The mutang made for this with Helen and Dorothy close behind her.

"Stop!" entreated Helen again, and louder than before. "Oh, do stop! We mean no harm. We only want to talk to you." But the more earnestly she entreated, the more determined the old woman seemed to be to resist her, to escape from her.

Helen had now drawn near enough to lay hold of the old woman's clothing, but her grasp was violently shaken off, as the mutang sprang away again with renewed energy.

The two girls, intensely excited, stuck to the chase. All their thoughts were concentrated upon it; their one desire to overtake the old woman and to induce her, by offering yen in exchange, to return the miriok. Absorbed in these thoughts, this desire, they lost sight of all else, especially of how every moment that they were getting nearer and nearer to the woman they were going farther and farther away from the sampan.


"Oh," said Helen breathlessly, "we must overtake her! We must get her to give us the miriok. We can't let her escape with it in this manner, for what then could we do about poor Choi-So and Mr. Kit-ze?"

"Yes," replied Dorothy, "we must get it back. I am like you, Helen, I can't bear to see the old woman get off with it. Oh, every time I think of that poor man Choi-So and his melancholy, pleading eyes, I feel that we must keep on, that we must overtake her and secure the image by some means!"

"Why," said Helen suddenly, "I have forgotten to tell her about the yen I have for her." Then she began to call, holding up her purse: "See! I have yen for you. Stop and let me tell you about it."

At last she had used the magic words. At sound of them, twice repeated, the mutang slackened her pace. Then she turned her head. Encouraged by these signs, Helen renewed her efforts.

They were now some distance into the village, and a half-mile or more from the sampan. The red glow of the coming morning had fully dyed the east. Already there were signs of stirring life in the huts about them. Then too, the noise of running feet and of Helen's loudly spoken words had attracted attention. One by one forms began to appear on the street. Soon there was quite a group in the neighborhood of the pursued and pursuers. By the time Helen had succeeded in gaining the old mutang's interest, there were many curious spectators surrounding them.

"What is all this commotion about?" asked one man as he approached. Then as he noted the mutang he stopped respectfully. The old woman had now paused in her running, and had turned toward Helen. "What were the words? Say them again."

Helen repeated them.

"Why are you running after me in this way? Why do you offer me yen?" she now asked angrily.

Helen told her as simply and as plainly as she could.

At this the old woman's eyes blazed more than ever. But she seemed to take a second thought, and asked cautiously, "How many yen?"

"Two," replied Helen, closely watching her face.

The old woman shook her head vigorously, then began to stamp. "Too little! too little!" she said. "Your head is under your arm to think I'd be such an idiot!"

Then she set off again.

"Three!" called Helen desperately, for she knew this was the limit of her resources so far as yen were concerned.

"No! no!" shouted the old woman. "Too little! too little! Five or none."

As the last sentence was uttered, she turned to see its effect on Helen, but as there was not the response she expected, she renewed her efforts to get beyond their reach.

"Oh, if I only had my purse too!" said Dorothy. "But I gave it to my brother yesterday just before we left Mr. Ko's."

In her despair Helen called after the old woman again and again to stop, to turn back with them to the sampan, promising her the yen she desired if only she would do so, and further assuring her that no harm should come to her, for Helen knew Mallard would gladly supply the amount of yen she lacked. She would tell him about the miriok. She had been intending to do it the first favorable opportunity.

There was now quite a hubbub in the street, for in addition to Helen's calls and Dorothy's added entreaties, there were the shrill cries of defiance of the old mutang herself. People had come running from all directions, and their loudly voiced questions and exclamations added to the noise. Among others there came five runners, the court officers of a near-by yangban (gentleman), who was serving as magistrate.

When they saw the two girls they began to cry out something against the hated foreigners, and three of them at once took Helen and Dorothy into custody, while the other two hastened away to capture the mutang. They were too hardened to mind the old sorceress and her wiles. Moreover, the court was no respecter of persons.

Helen and Dorothy were now much frightened and, for the first time, began to realize what they had done in setting off on this mad chase after the old mutang.

Helen was the first to recover herself. "I guess," she said, "it won't be so dreadful. They won't dare hurt us. And soon our dear ones in the sampan will come to the rescue, for surely we can get them word. Anyhow, it won't be long ere they miss us, and they'll search the town over till they find us."

A young man, whom Helen declared looked more honest than any of the others, was soon engaged, in consideration of the offer of two of Helen's smaller silver pieces, to carry the news of their predicament to the sampan. But alas for Helen's confidence! After securing the silver he had taken only about a dozen steps toward the river when, overcome by curiosity to see the thing out, he turned back.

The mutang had now been captured, but not until she had made such vigorous resistance that not only the clothing of the runners had been torn, but their faces also scratched.

In close company with the old mutang, and with the runners encircling them so that there could be no chance of escape, and a leering, hooting mob following them, the two girls were conducted along the street to the house of the yangban.

"Oh, Dorothy," said Helen, "this is dreadful!" and, in her pain and mortification, she sought to conceal as much of her face as she could with her hands.

"Yes," said Dorothy, on the verge of tears. "Oh, Helen, it would have been better, many times, to have let the miriok go."

"No," said Helen, "no!"

It was now sunrise, but far too early for the magistrate. They were informed that they must wait an hour or more.

Dorothy and Helen were finally permitted to enter the women's apartments. They afterward learned that it was through the overwhelming curiosity of the yangban's chief wife. At the entrance they were laid hold of by the serving-women and fairly dragged into the apartment. There they had a trying experience which lasted nearly an hour. To them it seemed five times that length. Their clothing, their faces, and their hair in turn were inspected, and by each wife. They were bidden to take off their shoes, their wrappers, and other wearing apparel, and each wife in turn must try on each article. But the bulk of the curiosity was directed toward Helen's hair. It seemed that the women would never tire of handling it. They even wanted to cut it off, and but for Helen's heroic efforts, aided by Dorothy's quick ingenuity, would have succeeded.

At length they were summoned before the yangban, the wives, unable to restrain their curiosity, following them to the room, where they sat behind a screen.

The yangban, who was quite a young man, was lounging on his platform and smoking an immense cigar. He was dressed in a pea-green silk robe confined by a red girdle, and on each hand was a very showy paste-diamond ring.

He had ordered the outer door to be thrown open, and had allowed as many of the curious crowd to enter as could be accommodated within a certain space. Near him stood his interpreter, for he had early been informed that two of the accused were foreigners. After smoking awhile in silence, he commanded the offenders to be brought before him for the usual form of questions. He began with Helen. As she stepped a little apart from the others, and nearer to the magistrate, in her earnestness to tell him her story, she happened to raise her eyes for a moment and let them rest upon the crowd gathered at her left. As she did so a little muffled cry escaped her. There, standing almost in the front line, and with his dark eyes fixed mournfully upon her, was Choi-So. How had he come there? Afterward she learned that he had not been far away from the sampan, and, sleeping very lightly because of the thoughts that disturbed him, had been attracted by the sound of running feet and by Helen's calls to the old woman. He had overtaken them just as they had been arrested and started to the yangban's. He had heard Helen try to tell one of the runners the cause of the trouble. He had gleaned just enough to set him on fire with interest and excitement. For an instant Choi-So's presence at the magistrate's court so disconcerted Helen that she could not remember the words she had been on the point of uttering. But soon more confidence returned, and she began bravely to tell her story.

The magistrate listened patiently, but he was evidently full of curiosity and deeply excited over the appearance of the two young girls. Though he had seen the white foreigners on the streets of Seoul, yet he had never before been brought in such contact with them. The fearless, earnest manner of both girls impressed him and had much to do with his decision.

The mutang should return the image, he declared. He had not asked to see it yet, and so was in no wise impressed by it. Helen and Dorothy had proved to be of such tremendous interest that all minor objects had been for the time obscured.

Yes, the mutang should return the image, and the yen that Helen had offered should go to himself.

This decision was barely rendered when there came a communication from his chief wife. He appeared to frown over it for a few moments, all the while smoking hard. Then he further announced, and in the most laconic manner, that Helen was to sacrifice her hair ere receiving the image.

A cry of dismay escaped Helen, while Dorothy, hot with indignation, began to pour out her protests, first to the magistrate, then to Helen.

"It can't be done! You can't think of such a thing! Don't! Don't!"

"Oh, yes," said Helen, who had now grown strangely quiet and calm. "It isn't such a dreadful sacrifice, dear. There are many far worse. I can endure it. My hair will grow out again. Oh, surely it is worth this when we remember what it means to get back the miriok!"

All the while she was speaking, though she was looking at Dorothy, yet Helen saw those mournful eyes that she knew were fixed upon her from the other side of the room.

"Take the scissors, Dorothy," she entreated. "I had forgotten until now that I had my folding ones here in the little case in my pocket. Oh, it will be so much better for you to do it, dear, for I couldn't bear any of those rude hands to touch me."

Dorothy took the scissors, but still making vigorous protest.

"Do, Dorothy, do, my dear," pleaded Helen.

With trembling hand Dorothy grasped the rich, shining braid. The scissors were raised; but ere the two gleaming blades could close on the glossy strand, a voice cried out authoritatively:

"Stop! Stop!"

Helen and Dorothy raised their eyes simultaneously. It was Mr. Kit-ze. He had pressed to the extreme limit of the line of spectators, and with his hat gone, his clothing in wild disorder, his eyes gleaming like two globes of fire, was gesticulating frantically to the magistrate.




r. Kit-ze continued to gesticulate and to cry out to the magistrate, although those near-by sought to restrain him. He even tried to pass the barrier, but was each time pushed back by the guards.

The magistrate at first appeared not to notice him, but after a while, overcome by his curiosity, he turned his head and called to Mr. Kit-ze: "What do you want, fellow? I'll put you in the cangue[3] if you don't cease that noise."

"A word!" cried Mr. Kit-ze. "A word with you, O most high and exalted!"

The magistrate eyed him a moment nonchalantly. Then he said to a runner: "Bring him here."

Mr. Kit-ze approached and, falling upon his heels, prostrated himself three times before the yangban, touching his forehead to the floor each time.

As he arose, there fluttered from his fingers a strip of yellow ribbon, and those who were near to him saw stamped upon it in red a dragon with four wings and tongue extended.

"See!" said Mr. Kit-ze, as he held it before the magistrate. "See! O renowned son of a renowned father. O most exalted, I claim the promise."

A look of intelligence began to dawn in the magistrate's eye. He looked closely at the streamer of yellow ribbon. "Go on," he said to Mr. Kit-ze. "Go on, but keep your head above your shoulders, so as to make clear what you are trying to say."

"On a blessed day for your poor, miserable servant," began Mr. Kit-ze, "your exalted person came down the Han in a craft that went to grief in the rapids. Your polemen, losing their heads, deserted, and but for the assistance of the unworthy being now speaking to you and his poleman, there would have been neither craft nor cargo belonging to your exalted self to enter Seoul. You gave me yen, but you gave me this too," holding the ribbon nearer as he spoke, "and your most eloquent tongue, that always speaks straight, declared that if there was ever anything this miserable wretch desired of you that could be granted, it should be so."

"I remember," said the magistrate. "Go on."

"I ask you now, O renowned and honorable, to spare the hair of the daughter of him who is known as the exalted teacher," and here Mr. Kit-ze turned toward Helen, who, ever since his sudden appearance, had been regarding him with a questioning if not puzzled wonder. How had he come there, and where were the others? Had he alone learned of their whereabouts, and how had it so happened?

"Take instead something of your wretched servant's," continued Mr. Kit-ze to the magistrate, "and leave undisturbed the beautiful strands that are a happiness to her whom they adorn and a joy in the eyes of those who love her."

"Oh, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen softly, a great, warm flood of feeling sweeping over her heart as she comprehended what he had asked and noted the deep earnestness in his eyes as he turned them upon her, "don't mind about my hair; please don't. It won't be so dreadful to me to lose it. Don't get yourself into trouble for my sake," and now she laid her hand upon his shoulder in earnest pleading.

"I'll fear to suffer nothing if done for you, O daughter of the honorable teacher." And now his eyes were misty with feeling as their gaze lingered upon her.

"Come, is this all you want?" asked the magistrate impatiently and evidently resenting the conversation now going on between Helen and Mr. Kit-ze.

"Yes, it is all your wretched servant has to ask of you," replied Mr. Kit-ze. "O most honorable," he began to plead, "spare, I entreat you, the beautiful hair of her who is the daughter of the exalted teacher, and nothing more will I ask of you. Nothing!"

"But the miriok, Mr. Kit-ze, the miriok?" said Helen in an undertone and surprised that he had seemed to take no thought of it in his appeal to the magistrate. For he surely had heard enough of the proceedings to understand why she and Dorothy had been brought before the yangban.

"The miriok?" said Mr. Kit-ze softly and looking at her with eyes whose confidence touched her beyond expression. "He will give you the miriok. He has said it."

Then, as a sudden, strange expression came into his eyes, he glanced up quickly and straight toward the line of spectators. "There is another," he said, his lips moving nervously, "and I must!" He paused; then she heard him say again, "Oh, I must!"

Helen's heart leaped. Did he mean Mr. Choi-So? Had he seen him among the spectators? It was more than likely that he had, as the latter stood near to where Mr. Kit-ze was when he began to gesticulate to the magistrate.

"I can't see why your request shouldn't be granted," said the magistrate after a pause, and to Mr. Kit-ze; "especially as you have brought that at sight of which no gentleman could break his word," and he pointed to the streamer of yellow ribbon that Mr. Kit-ze still held. "I remember the service. Now let me hear the request again."

Mr. Kit-ze repeated it with all the eloquence that heart and tongue could bestow upon it.

"Take the image from the old woman and give it to the young foreigner," said the magistrate, "and there will be no cutting of her hair," he added firmly.

As he uttered the last sentence, he threw his head up and glanced somewhat defiantly at the screen behind which he knew his wives were sitting. But the chief lady of his household was inexorable. Another message came to him, and quickly. She would renounce her desire for all of Helen's hair, but she must have some of it. A strand would now suffice her.

"No," said Mr. Kit-ze, "no!" and moved nearer to Helen as though to protect her. "It must not be!"

"I can spare a strand," said Helen soothingly to Mr. Kit-ze, "without its ever showing where it has been cut."

Then she turned to Dorothy. "Help me undo the braids quickly, dear, and get a part of one of them. You will know where to cut. Get a good-sized piece," she added with a smile. "We must give her her curiosity's worth."

As the braids were loosened and the strands swept in shining waves over Helen's shoulders, falling below her waist, there was a chorus of quick exclamations, followed by prolonged murmurs of astonishment. Only Mr. Kit-ze groaned.

Urged by Helen, Dorothy severed the portion of hair, which was at once conveyed to the yangban's chief wife. They could hear the excited expressions that sounded from behind the screen.

Mr. Kit-ze looked miserable. He stood with folded hands mournfully regarding Helen. His eyes said plainly, though his lips did not, "I tried to save it. If only you had let me!"

"Dear Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, "how I do thank you for——"

But here she stopped, for the runner, who had at length succeeded, with the assistance of another, in getting the miriok from the old mutang was now offering it to her. He was also demanding for the magistrate the yen that had been mentioned.

Helen gave them to him, then reached for the miriok. But how her hand trembled! A pang too struck her heart. How different was the feeling to that with which she had thought she would receive the miriok if only she could succeed in recovering it! Though it had been stolen from Mr. Kit-ze, yet her chief thought when pursuing the old mutang had been of poor Choi-So, and of how frantic he would be should the miriok pass away from him. Now the miriok had been given back to her. She stood there with it in her hand. But there too stood Mr. Kit-ze, and she felt, if she did not see, his burning glance fixed upon the image in her clasp. How much he had dared for her! For it is considered a serious matter in Korea to interrupt a magistrate in the midst of his court. With what earnestness and eloquence had he pleaded for her hair, seeming to forget even the precious miriok in his desire to save to her that which he knew was pleasing to herself and a delight to her loved ones. He had even used his one claim to the favor of the magistrate in her behalf.

Yes, there stood Mr. Kit-ze with burning eyes regarding her, and there too, not more than ten paces away, was Choi-So. Only the moment before she had seen him, standing at almost the same spot and in almost the same position, his eyes riveted upon her every movement. How singularly quiet he had been! But it was, she felt, the quiet of concentrated emotion—emotion that might at any moment break forth.

Oh, what was she to do? A fervent prayer winged its way upward as she thought quickly, intently. Now of all times she must not make a mistake. The peace of a soul, maybe in the end the peace of two souls, was at stake. Suddenly her resolution was formed. She would give the miriok to Mr. Kit-ze, then, when they were released from the court and were away from all those inquisitive eyes, she would bravely plead with him to return it to Choi-So. She would see Choi-So too. She would entreat him to wait and to leave it to her.

"Mr. Kit-ze," she said, speaking slowly and trying to make each expression plain to him, "I saw the old woman when she robbed you. I called to Dorothy, for I knew I had not the time to awaken you and the others, and we chased her. Oh, how anxious we were to get the miriok for—for——"

But she could not tell him yet. Besides, the magistrate was through with them, and was even now instructing the runners to conduct them away.

As they turned to leave the room, Helen gently pressed the miriok into Mr. Kit-ze's hands. "Take it," she said; "but later, when we get away from here, I must tell you something."

His fingers closed about it nervously, and he paused for a moment as though his emotion at receiving it again had overcome him. Then she heard him murmur, "Wrong, wrong. I must give it back," and, ere she could speak to him, he had moved hastily away.

Surprised, Helen, with a word to Dorothy, turned to follow him. After so bravely coming to the rescue, was he going to abandon them in that strange place to make their way back to the sampan alone?

"Stop, Mr. Kit-ze, stop!" entreated Helen.

"Oh, do wait for us, Mr. Kit-ze!" pleaded Dorothy.

He paid no heed to them, only kept on; and now Helen, for the first time, realized whither he was going. It was straight toward Mr. Choi-So. Her heart almost stopped beating. What would happen? She must follow him and know. As she reached them, it was to see Mr. Kit-ze holding the image toward Choi-So, and to hear his tremulously uttered words, "Sorry. Sorry. It was wrong. She showed me."

Then he raised his head and added another word, but with almost pathetic entreaty, "Go!"

"No," said Helen quickly, "no," and reached out her hand to detain Mr. Choi-So, but too late.

With a muffled cry of joy that fell distinctly upon the ears of those around him, Mr. Choi-So grasped the image, dropped something into Mr. Kit-ze's hand and, turning, sprang away. He passed swiftly through the crowd that opened at once to let him by, believing that he was running in search of his mind, as they expressed it, and to their journey's end the inmates of the sampan did not see nor hear of him again.


"Oh, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, "I——"

But the sentence was never finished, for a joyous cry from Dorothy arrested her in the act of speaking the words, and, at the same time, she felt an arm slipped about her waist and heard a voice deep with emotion saying, "My daughter, this has been dreadful for you."

It was her father, and there too, was Mallard. How rejoiced they were to find her and Dorothy safe.

Soon the story of the search for them was told, and then Helen, for the first time, had light on a subject that even in the midst of far more engrossing things had caused her much wonder. This was as to how Mr. Kit-ze had found his way to the court-room without the others.

The old boatman had slept on until sunrise. The other inmates too had finished their morning naps, had performed their toilets, and were ready for breakfast ere the disappearance of the two girls was discovered. It was after repeated calls and numerous sarcastic remarks on Clarence's part had failed either to bring them forth or to win even a retort from them, that Mr. Reid had raised the curtain of their sleeping apartment for an examination. But still their absence had not caused alarm, for the first thought was that they might be walking on the bank near by. However, as a search in that direction failed to discover them, a well defined fear soon spread. In a short time it became evident that they had either wandered away and become lost or had been abducted.

It was quickly arranged that Mr. Reid, Mr. Kit-ze, and Mallard should set off in search for them, while Mr. Wilburn, Clarence, and Joyce remained to take care of the sampan.

In the town they soon heard of the arrest; but as there were two magistrates, there were, of course, two trails to follow, as no one they met seemed to know before which one the girls had been carried. In the eagerness of inquiry, Mr. Kit-ze became separated from Mr. Reid and Mallard and, while they went on the wrong trail at first, he went on the right one, arriving almost as soon as the court had begun.

There was a joyful reunion at the sampan. Only Mr. Kit-ze looked sad. Helen watched for the first opportunity to speak to him when alone and said: "Oh, Mr. Kit-ze, that was a good, brave thing you did. How glad it has made me!"

The gloomy look began to leave his face. He turned toward her, a joy awakening in his eyes. "I did it," he said, "because you told me."

"I?" asked Helen astonished. "Oh, no, Mr. Kit-ze, I never told you."

"Not with lips, but with eyes," declared Mr. Kit-ze. "Oh, when you looked at me so, I knew I must. I felt it here," laying his hand with a pathetic movement on his heart. "And when you talked to me, daughter of the most honorable teacher, oh, it was like light coming, coming, that is almost here."

"But how did you know that I knew about the miriok?" she asked, now more astonished than ever.

"I heard him. The day on the bluff. Oh, how frightened poor Kit-ze, and wretched, wretched!"

So he had heard Choi-So tell the story, and though he had hotly protested against his accompanying them as poleman, all the time vigorously declaring to himself that he would never give up the miriok, yet the seeds of better things had taken root in his heart, were even then beginning to push their tender shoots upward. And how Helen's deep interest, her kindness to him, her evident concern, above all, the sweet, earnest words she had spoken—how these had brought just the nourishment to make the seed grow! The hand that no harsh force of compulsion could ever have made give up the idol to which it clung had brought it tremblingly to the feet of love, won by its all-conquering power.

They turned back from the old temple above Yo-Ju after thoroughly exploring it. They also spent a day in Yo-Ju, where Mr. Kit-ze fortunately found a poleman whom he knew and in whom he had confidence. They stopped at Mr. Ko's long enough to pick up Mr. Chefoo, whom they found well on the road to recovery, and to leave with their old friend some remembrances brought from Yo-Ju.

What a joy it was to Helen, on the homeward journey, to watch Mr. Kit-ze coming more and more into the light.

It was one afternoon, just as they were passing along beneath the beautifully verdured bluffs that indicate the nearness of the mountain range which encircles Seoul, that Dorothy, slipping her arm with warm pressure about Helen's waist, laid a book across Helen's knee with a passage marked.

After a moment, Helen looked up, her eyes suffused with tears, for this is what she had read:

Perchance in heaven, some day, to me
Some blessed saint will come and say:
"All hail, beloved, but for thee
My soul to death had fallen a prey";
Then oh, what rapture in the thought
One soul to glory to have brought.


[3] A wooden collar worn by Korean offenders against the law.


No significant changes have been made to the original work, except to the table of contents, which has been streamlined for ease of use with this edition.