A Tumour Contains Lice 肉瘤有蝨

Li Shengde of Fuliang suffered from an itch on his back, which swelled like an upturned basin; there was no pain, just an unbearable tickling. His eating and drinking reduced each day, and nobody knew what kind of an illness it was. The physician Qin Deli saw him, and said: “This is a louse growth; I can treat it.” Applying a medicine to it, he wound [229] a length of silk floss around it, and when evening came it split; about a dou of lice came out, all able to move by squirming and wriggling. After a few days, the size had reduced, but a small hole, like the tip of a chopstick, stayed open, and from time to time another louse would emerge, going beyond counting, and in the end he died.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.228-29 (Tale 410):


浮梁李生得背癢疾,隱起如覆盂,無所痛苦,唯癢不可忍。飲食日以削,無有識為何病。醫者秦德立見之,曰:「此蝨瘤也,吾能治之矣。」取藥明刻本此處多一「傳」字。似當為「傅」字。其上,又塗 [229] 一綿帶繞其圍,經夕瘤破,出蝨斗許,皆蠢蠕能行動。即日體輕,但一小竅如箸端不合,時時蝨涌出,不勝計,竟死。

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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