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The Great Rat.

DURING the reign of the Emperor Wan Li, the palace was troubled by the presence of a huge rat, quite as big as a cat, which ate up all the cats that were set to catch it. Just then it chanced that among the tribute offerings sent by some foreign State was a lion cat, as white as snow. This cat was accordingly put into the room where the rat usually appeared; and, the door being closely shut, a secret watch was kept. By-and-by the rat came out of its hole and rushed at the cat, which turned and fled, finally jumping up on the table. The rat followed, upon which the cat jumped down; and thus they went on up and down for some time. Those who were watching said the cat was afraid and of no use; however, in a little while the rat began to jump less briskly, and soon after squatted down out of breath. Then the cat rushed at it, and, seizing the rat by the back of the neck, shook and shook while its victim squeaked and squeaked, until life was extinct. Thus they knew the cat was not afraid, but merely waited for its adversary to be fatigued, fleeing when pursued and itself pursuing the fleeing rat. Truly, many a bad swordsman may be compared with that rat!

大鼠

萬曆間,宮中有鼠,大與貓等,為害甚劇。遍求民間佳貓捕制之,輒被噉食。適異國來貢獅貓,毛白如雪。抱投鼠屋,闔其扉,潛窺之。貓蹲良久,鼠逡巡自穴中出,見貓,怒奔之。貓避登几上,鼠亦登,貓則躍下。如此往復,不啻百次。眾咸謂貓怯,以為是無能為者。既而鼠跳擲漸遲,碩腹似喘,蹲地上少休。貓即疾下,爪掬頂毛,口齕首領,輾轉爭持,貓聲嗚嗚,鼠聲啾啾。啟扉急視,則鼠首已嚼碎矣。然後知貓之避,非怯也,待其惰也。彼出則歸,彼歸則復,用此智耳。噫!匹夫按劍,何異鼠乎!

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