We have seen that some Chinese have numbers for names. Some of these are nicknames， but some are their real names. Earlier， we read about the stubborn hog butcher， Hsuan 4. Probably he was the fourth son in his family.
Now we are going to tell you about a gardener called Qiao 46. What！？ Theforty-sixth son？ Maybe. Or maybe his father just liked numbers.
Be that as it may， 46 was a very careful， very skilled gardener. He wasn’t very highly educated， but he had a lot of experience gardening. Everybody praised his skill， but he had a problem. He wasn’t very kind. Of course no gardener can help killing some insects now and then， but 46 seemed to enjoy doing in bugs， whether or not they were threatening his plants.
Once when he was working on his flowers， he saw an ant hole. It looked pretty deep. It was crawling with ants， running back and forth on their ant-errands.
“Just the right moment！” said 46. He had a big pot of water boiling in the kitchen. He had been going to make tea， but he thought this was better. He rushed into the kitchen and got a bucket and poured all the boiling water down the hole. Almost all the ants were scalded to death. 46 thought that was great fun！
All that running back and forth with the boiling water was hot work， especially on such a fine summer’s day. 46 took off his shirt and went back to work，humming a happy tune.
What a fine day！ The weather was perfect， and he had just finished off a whole nest of ants. His garden was doing well， so he would have lots of vegetables and flowers to sell in the market. He had saved up enough money by now to get married， and it was about time， too！ He was over 30 already， and most of his buddies had troops of kids.
“Miss Zhang 2 is the gal for me. She’s got a charming face， and the sweetest， softest pair of little white hands I ever did see. If I marry her， we can have a bunch of kids. Wouldn’t that be wonderful？
“Her dad’s a great friend of Pa’s. I have enough money now to support a family， so I’ll ask Pa to have a matchmaker arrange things.”
The more 46 thought about it， the happier he was. Everything was perfect ――the only flaw on this perfect day was that he had an itchy little red dot on his shoulder. He scratched it， but it got itchier.
He kept working， but it still got itchier， and it seemed to be spreading. In a while， he had little red dots all over his upper body， and they itched so much he had to put down his tools and concentrate on his scratching.
The more he scratched， the itchier he got， and the more red dots he had. He rubbed his back against a tree while he scratched his chest and arms with his hands， and his legs with his feet.
They itched so much he scratched open his skin， and from every dot， out crawled an ant！
By the time this happened， 46 was half insane from the itching， and he died in torment a few days later.