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Killing A Serpent

AT Kuchi island in the eastern sea, there were camellias of all colours which bloomed throughout the year. No one, however, lived there, and very few people ever visited the spot. One day, a young man of Têngchou, named Chang, who was fond of hunting and adventure, hearing of the beauties of the place, put together some wine and food, and rowed himself across in a small open boat. The flowers were just then even finer than usual, and their perfume was diffused for a mile or so around; while many of the trees he saw were several armfuls in circumference. So he roamed about and gave himself up to enjoyment of the scene; and by-and-by he opened a flask of wine, regretting very much that he had no companion to share it with him, when all of a sudden a most beautiful young girl, with extremely bright eyes and dressed in red, stepped down from one of the camellias before him. “Dear me!” said she on seeing Mr. Chang; “I expected to be alone here, and was not aware that the place was already occupied.” Chang was somewhat alarmed at this apparition, and asked the young lady whence she came; to which she replied that her name was Chiaoch‘ang, and that she had accompanied thither a Mr. Hai, who had gone off for a stroll and had left her to await his return. Thereupon Chang begged her to join him in a cup of wine, which she very willingly did, and they were just beginning to enjoy themselves when a sound of rushing wind was heard and the trees and plants bent beneath it. “Here’s Mr. Hai!” cried the young lady; and jumping quickly up, disappeared in a moment. The horrified Chang now beheld a huge serpent coming out of the bushes near by, and immediately ran behind a large tree for shelter, hoping the reptile would not see him. But the serpent advanced and enveloped both Chang and the tree in its great folds, binding Chang’s arms down to his sides so as to prevent him from moving them; and then raising its head, darted out its tongue and bit the poor man’s nose, causing the blood to flow freely out. This blood it was quietly sucking up, when Chang, who thought that his last hour had come, remembered that he had in his pocket some fox poison; and managing to insert a couple of fingers, he drew out the packet, broke the paper, and let the powder lie in the palm of his hand. He next leaned his hand over the serpent’s coils in such a way that the blood from his nose dripped into his hand, and when it was nearly full the serpent actually did begin to drink it. And in a few moments the grip was relaxed; the serpent struck the ground heavily with its tail, and dashed away up against another tree, which was broken in half, and then stretched itself out and died. Chang was a long time unable to rise, but at length he got up and carried the serpent off with him. He was very ill for more than a month afterwards, and even suspected the young lady of being a serpent, too, in disguise.

海公子

東海古蹟島,有五色耐冬花,四時不凋。而島中古無居人,人亦罕到之。登州張生,好奇,喜游獵。聞其佳勝,備酒食,自掉扁舟而往。至則花正繁,香聞數裡;樹有大至十余圍者。反復留連,甚慊所好。開尊自酌,恨無同游。忽花中一麗人來,紅裳眩目,略無倫比。見張,笑曰:「妾自謂興致不凡,不圖先有同調。」張驚問:「何人?」曰:「我膠娼也。適從海公子來。彼尋勝翱翔,妾以艱于步履,故留此耳。」張方苦寂,得美人,大悅,招坐共飲。女言詞溫婉,蕩人神志。張愛好之,恐海公子來,不得盡歡,因挽與亂。女忻從之。相狎未已,忽聞風肅肅,草木偃折有聲。女急推張起,曰:「海公子至矣。」張束衣愕顧,女已失去,旋見一大蛇,自叢樹中出,粗于巨筒。張懼,幛身大樹後,冀蛇不睹。蛇近前,以身繞人並樹,糾纏數匝;兩臂直束胯間,不可少屈。昂其首,以舌刺張鼻。鼻血下注,流地上成窪,乃俯就飲之。張自分必死,忽憶腰中佩荷囊,有毒狐藥,因以二指夾出,破裹堆掌中;又側頸自顧其掌,令血滴藥上,頃刻盈把。蛇果就掌吸飲。飲未及盡,遽伸其體,擺尾若霹靂聲,觸樹,樹半體崩落,蛇臥地如梁而斃矣。張亦眩,莫能起,移時方蘇。載蛇而歸,大病月余,疑女子亦蛇精也。

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