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Myths and Legends of China

Page: 172

Without another word he retired, followed by his courtiers, proceeded at once to the palace, and went straight to the apartments of the Empress. The next morning he and his Empress were found suspended from a tree on Prospect Hill. “In their death they were not divided.” The scenes that followed; how the rebels took possession of the city and were driven out again by the Chinese general, assisted by the Tartars; how the Tartars finally succeeded in establishing the Manchu dynasty, are all matters of history. The words used by the Emperor at the temple were prophetic; he was the last of the Mings. The tree on which the monarch of a mighty Empire closed his career and brought the Ming dynasty to an end was ordered to be surrounded with chains; it still exists, and is still in chains. Upward of two hundred and seventy years have passed since that time, yet the temple is standing as of old; but the halls that at Page 401one time were crowded with worshippers are now silent, no one ever venturing to worship there; it is the resort of the fox and the bat, and people at night pass it shudderingly—“It is the cursed temple!”


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