– the stories are generally short enough to be read and enjoyed in one go
– the language is rather simple
– the fact that they were written in order to convey a moral teaching means that they have a very straightforward and predictible storyline.
One of the stories (卷 1, f°7a-f°8b) runs as follows :
gi jeo hecen i dorgi sioi halangga niyalmai sargan ini booi aha sargan jui be takūrafi aisin i sifikū be da ejen de bene seme jafabufi unggihe. tere sargan jui uju de sisifi genere de jugūn i andala nade tuheke be hecen be tuwakiyara li halangga coohai niyalma bahafi uthai tere sargan jui be dahalame genere babe tuwaci tere sargan jui emu niyalmai boode dosika. goidahakū ekšeme tucifi giyang ni dalin de genefi teni muke de fekuki serebe coohai niyalma ekšeme ilibufi fonjiha manggi. tere sargan jui hendume ejen hehe i banin hatan. teike mimbe sifikū bene seme takūraha bihe. jugūn i andala tuhefi waliyabuha. mimbe urunakū tatame wambi. tatame wabure anggala neneme bucere de isirakū sehe. tere coohai niyalma ini baha sifikū be uthai amasi buhe. tere sargan jui ambula baniha bufi genehe. amala tere sargan jui mei lin i dohon i bai irgen i niyalma de sargan ohobi. emu inenggi tere coohai niyalma siden i bithe be jafafi dohon be. teni doki serede sargan jui takafi hacihiyame ini boode gamafi nure jeku dagirafi ulebume bisirede gaitai dohon i teisu gaijara jilgan be donjifi tucifi tuwaci dore cuwan irufi cuwan de tehe niyalma gemu bucehe bi. tere li halangga coohai niyalma: sargan jui bibuhe turgun de tuttu bahafi guwehebi.
In the town of Gi Jeo, there was a woman of the Sioi family. She gave a golden hairpin to her servant and sent her saying ‘Bring it back to its owner’. The girl put the hairpin in her hair and it fell while she was walking. A city guard named Li took it and followed the girl. He saw her entering some house. Not long after, she came out in a hurry and went to the river bank, wanting to jump into the water. Quickly, the soldier stopped her and questioned her. The girl said: ‘My mistress has a violent temper. A moment ago, she sent me to deliver a hairpin but on the way, it fell and got lost. No doubt she will beat me to death. Better to die than be beaten to death!’ The soldier gave her back the hairpin he had taken. The girl thanked him heartily and went. Later she became the wife of someone from the Mei Lin ford. One day, the soldier was on a public errand and when he wanted to cross the river, the girl recognized him and urging him, she took him into her house. After she had prepared wine and food and while they were eating, suddenly they heard a voice. When they looked, (they saw that) the ferry-boat had sunk and that every one on it had died. The soldier named Li could escape it because the girl had kept him back.
(1) But a Taoism strongly influenced by Buddhism if the Wikipedia page is to be believed. Interestingly, one of the stories was published in 1859 by Stanislas Julien and is mentioned in Gorelova’s Manchu Grammar (following Pashkov?) as a ”Confucius tale”, without reference.
(2) Stanislas Julien published a translation of the whole text in 1835. But it was made on a Chinese original and the stories do not seem to be the same (or at least not in the same order) as the ones in the Manchu version. Quite possibly the Manchu translation was made on a different Chinese edition than the one used by Julien.