A Slaughterer of Oxen Changes His Work 屠牛改業

In Shuinan, in Longquan County, there was a Zhao Taibao, who was accustomed to slaughtering oxen to gather profit in the market. He once bought three oxen, one of which was already boiled. One night, before dawn had broken, he had a nightmare, and, making a bellowing sound, passed a full day unable to awake; desperately calling out, a physician used medicine to relieve his distress and he finally awoke the following dawn. His family questioned him as to the cause, and he replied: “I happened to see one of my oxen suddenly speak with a human voice, its speeches being ‘I am your father’ and ‘I am your grandfather.’ Before long, the two oxen both took on human form, and I looked hard at them and they were indeed my grandfather and father.” He cried out piteously and earnestly, frightened and newly enlightened, and then handed over generous rent for the two oxen, feeding them with water and hay. From then on he changed his work and never slaughtered another ox.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 前2.96 (Tale 165):

屠牛改業

龍泉邑之水南,有趙太保,居嘗屠牛以網市利。嘗買三牛,已烹其一。一夕,天未明,忽魘,作聲哮吼,經一日不醒,急呼醫者用藥救療,迄旦方醒。家人詢問其故,答曰:「適見所有之牛忽作人語,其一曰:『我爾父也。』其一曰:『我爾祖也。』須臾,二牛皆人形,熟視之,則真吾祖與父也。」哀號懇切,驚駭而覺,即以二牛付之莊佃,飽以水草。自後改業,不復宰牛。

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).

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A Choking Patient Spits a Snake 病噎吐蛇

When Hua Tuo (d. 208 CE) was on the road, he saw a patient who, suffering a choking illness, although keen on eating and drinking was quite unable. His family carried him on a cart, wishing to consult the physician. Tuo heard his moans and groans, stopped the cart to inspect him, and addressed him, saying: “Just there by the road there is a pastry house; take three sheng (c. 3 litres) of their strong vinegar made from garlic and leek and drink this down; the illness should then clear itself up.” Having done as Tuo said, he stood and spat out a snake, suspending it from the side of the cart, and wishing to go to Tuo. Tuo having gone out and not yet returned, a small child playing before his gate greeted him, saying: “The guest’s carriage having that thing hung on the side, he must have encountered our gentleman.” The guest coming forward and entering Tuo’s walls, he saw such snakes hung up in their dozens.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.229 (Tale 411):

病噎吐蛇

華佗行道,見一人病噎,嗜食而不能,家人車載,欲往就醫。佗聞其呻吟,駐車往視,語之曰:「向來道旁有賣餅家,蒜虀大酢,從取三升飲之,病自當瘥。」即如佗言,立吐蛇一條,懸之車邊,欲造佗。佗尚未還,佗家小兒戲門前,迎見曰:「客車邊有物,必是逢我公也。」疾者前,入佗壁,見懸此蛇以十數。

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).

Compare to the shorter, much earlier version in the Soushenji:

Gan Bao, Kenneth J. DeWoskin and J.L. Crump, Jr. (trans), In Search of the Supernatural: The Written Record (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), p.41:

“Hua T’o Treats a Sufferer with Vinegar (3,70)

Once, while Hua T’o was traveling he saw a man who suffered difficulty with swallowing. He could not get down what he ate, so his family had put him in their cart to take him to a physician. Hua T’o heard his strangled groans, dismounted from his carriage, and went to inspect the man. Then he addressed the family: “You passed a cake shop on the side of the road back there, and they make strong vinegar from the fermentation of garlic and leeks,” said T’o. “Go you now, purchase three measures of that fluid, and force the patient to drink it. This should cure the disorder.”

They did as he instructed, and the man immediately spat up a serpent.”

 

Gan Bao 干寶, Soushenji 搜神記 (In Search of the Supernatural: The Written Record) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979), 3.41-42:

佗嘗行道,見一人病咽,嗜食不得下。家人車載,欲往就醫。佗聞其呻吟聲,駐車往 [42] 視,語之曰:「向來道邊,有賣餅家蒜虀大酢,從取三升飲之,病自當去。」即如佗言,立吐蛇一枚。

 

 

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):

肉瘤有蝨

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).

Game Pieces and Needles in the Flesh 肉有棋針

Long ago the reclusive scholar Kuai Liang said: “An acquaintance was suffering from a tumour on the forehead; the physician, having cut it open, found a qi (a chess-like game) piece of black stone; even when struck with a heavy axe it could not be damaged. Again, there was one whose shin grew into a tumour; because, having been bitten by a ferocious dog on arriving at a relative’s place, it gnawed directly at the growth, inside it they found more than a hundred acupuncture needles, all suitable for use; the illness cleared up too.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.228 (Tale 409):

肉有棋針

昔處士蒯亮言:其所知額角患瘤,醫為剖之,得一黑石棋子,巨斧擊之,終不能缺。復有足脛生瘤者,因至親戚處為獰犬所齚,正齧其瘤,其中得針百餘枚,皆可用,疾亦愈。

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).

A Spirit Knocks at Physicians’ Doors 鬼扣醫門

Long ago in the capital several friends among the scholars of a government school were strolling beneath the moon when they saw a page boy bearing a red gauze lamp and leading, with a woman walking very slowly behind. The scholarly friends, having suspicions about the strange sight of a woman walking alone so late at night, so they followed and observed her. Reaching the left side of Zhong’an Bridge, she knocked on the gate of the physician Zhang Fangyu and called on him for medicine. Zhang opened the door and saw her, then shut [237] it without admitting her. Next she knocked on Superintendant Li’s shop; Li came out and looked, then invited her in and went to feel her pulse. The scholar friends waited for a long time but she did not emerge, so they memorized the positions of the two physicians’ gates and went home. The next morning they called on Zhang Fangyu, who said: “Walking alone late at night, she couldn’t be the daughter of an honourable household, so she was turned away.” They then visited Li’s shop, and heard the sound of weeping and wailing coming from his household; asking them, they were told: “Last night a woman knocked on the door for a medical consultation, and after she left he had a stroke and died.” They then knew that it had been a ghost taking the shape of a woman, knocking on doors and seeking medicine. It can only be that Li saw her beauty and then ended up like this.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.236 (Tale 426):

鬼扣醫門

昔京庠有士友數人步月夜行,見有(「有」,明刻本作「一」。)小廝持紅紗籠前導,一婦人冉冉後隨,士友疑其暮夜獨行之異,跡而視之。至衆安橋左側,扣內醫張防禦門謁藥。張啟戶視之,即掩 [237] 門不納。次扣李提點鋪,李出視,延入,遂為診脈。士友俟久不出,默識兩醫之門而歸。次早訪張防禦,曰:「暮夜獨行,必非良家子女,所以卻之。」次過李鋪,聞其家有哀哭聲,問之,則曰:「昨夜一婦女扣門謁藥,去後中風而卒。」方知鬼化為婦,扣門求藥。豈非李見其美麗,動興而致然爾。

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).

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):

肉中有雀

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).