A Siskin in the Flesh 肉中有雀

Li Yanji, nephew of the Jinzhou Imperial Defence Commissioner Cui Yaofeng, suddenly developed an itch on his face above his left eye, which then developed into a small sore and gradually grew to the size of a duck’s egg, with a root like a bowstring; once [229] it pressed his eye, he was no longer able to open it. Yaofeng often thought of him, and one day toasted him with wine, ordering him to get completely drunk, then sliced it away, Yanji being entirely unaware. The growth having been cut open, inside was a siskin, which chirped and flew away.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.227-28 (Tale 407):


金州防禦使崔堯封有甥李言吉,左目上臉忽癢,而生一小瘡,漸大長如鴨卵,其根如弦,嘗 [228] 壓其目,不能開。堯封每思之,他日飲之酒,令大醉,遂剖去之,言吉不知覺也。贅既破,中有黃雀,鳴噪而去。

Yuan Haowen 元好問, Chang Zhenguo 常振國 (ed), Xu Yijian zhi 續夷堅志 (Continued Records of the Listener), and Anon., Jin Xin 金心 (ed.), Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi 湖海新聞夷堅續志 (Continuation of Records of the Listener with New Items from the Lakes and Seas) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986).


Author: Geoff Humble

Hobby translator of mosty 14th century Chinese texts. Enjoys strange tales. Image is my doodle based on an element within this work: http://archive.asia.si.edu/collections/edan/object.php?q=fsg_F1938.4

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