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The Tipsy Turtle.

AT Lint‘iao there lived a Mr. Fêng, whose other name the person who told me this story could not remember; he belonged to a good family, though now somewhat falling into decay. Now a certain man, who caught turtles, owed him some money which he could not pay, but whenever he captured any turtles he used to send one to Mr. Fêng. One day he took him an enormous creature, with a white spot on its forehead; but Fêng was so struck with something in its appearance, that he let it go again. A little while afterwards he was returning home from his son-in-law’s, and had reached the banks of the river, when in the dusk of the evening he saw a drunken man come rolling along, attended by two or three servants. No sooner did he perceive Fêng than he called out, “Who are you?” to which Fêng replied that he was a traveller. “And haven’t you got a name?” shouted out the drunken man in a rage, “that you must call yourself a traveller?” To this Fêng made no reply, but tried to pass by; whereupon he found himself seized by the sleeve and unable to move. His adversary smelt horribly of wine, and at length Fêng asked him, saying, “And pray who are you?” “Oh, I am the late magistrate at Nantu,” answered he; “what do you want to know for?” “A nice disgrace to society you are, too,” cried Fêng; “however, I am glad to hear you are only late magistrate, for if you had been present magistrate there would be bad times in store for travellers.” This made the drunken man furious, and he was proceeding to use violence, when Fêng cried out, “My name is So-and-so, and I’m not the man to stand this sort of thing from anybody.” No sooner had he uttered these words than the drunken man’s rage was turned into joy, and, falling on his knees before Fêng, he said, “My benefactor! pray excuse my rudeness.” Then getting up, he told his servants to go on ahead and get something ready; Fêng at first declining to go with him, but yielding on being pressed. Taking his hand, the drunken man led him along a short distance until they reached a village, where there was a very nice house and grounds, quite like the establishment of a person of position. As his friend was now getting sober, Fêng inquired what might be his name. “Don’t be frightened when I tell you,” said the other; “I am the Eighth Prince of the T‘iao river. I have just been out to take wine with a friend, and somehow I got tipsy; hence my bad behaviour to you, which please forgive.” Fêng now knew that he was not of mortal flesh and blood; but, seeing how kindly he himself was treated, he was not a bit afraid. A banquet followed, with plenty of wine, of which the Eighth Prince drank so freely that Fêng thought he would soon be worse than ever, and accordingly said he felt tipsy himself, and asked to be allowed to go to bed. “Never fear,” answered the Prince, who perceived Fêng’s thoughts; “many drunkards will tell you that they cannot remember in the morning the extravagances of the previous night, but I tell you this is all nonsense, and that in nine cases out of ten those extravagances are committed wittingly and with malice prepense. Now, though I am not the same order of being as yourself, I should never venture to behave badly in your good presence; so pray do not leave me thus.” Fêng then sat down again and said to the Prince, “Since you are aware of this, why not change your ways?” “Ah,” replied the Prince, “when I was a magistrate I drank much more than I do now; but I got into disgrace with the Emperor and was banished here, since which time, ten years and more, I have tried to reform. Now, however, I am drawing near the wood, and being unable to move about much, the old vice has come upon me again; I have found it impossible to stop myself, but perhaps what you say may do me some good.” While they were thus talking, the sound of a distant bell broke upon their ears; and the Prince, getting up and seizing Fêng’s hand, said, “We cannot remain together any longer; but I will give you something by which I may in part requite your kindness to me. It must not be kept for any great length of time; when you have attained your wishes, then I will receive it back again.” Thereupon he spit out of his mouth a tiny man, no more than an inch high, and scratching Fêng’s arm with his nails until Fêng felt as if the skin was gone, he quickly laid the little man upon the spot. When he let go, the latter had already sunk into the skin, and nothing was to be seen but a cicatrix well healed over. Fêng now asked what it all meant, but the Prince only laughed, and said, “It’s time for you to go,” and forthwith escorted him to the door. The prince here bade him adieu, and when he looked round, Prince, village, and house had all disappeared together, leaving behind a great turtle which waddled down into the water, and disappeared likewise. He could now easily account for the Prince’s present to him; and from this moment his sight became intensely keen. He could see precious stones lying in the bowels of the earth, and was able to look down as far as Hell itself; besides which he suddenly found that he knew the names of many things of which he had never heard before. From below his own bedroom he dug up many hundred ounces of pure silver, upon which he lived very comfortably; and once when a house was for sale, he perceived that in it lay concealed a vast quantity of gold, so he immediately bought it, and so became immensely rich in all kinds of valuables. He secured a mirror, on the back of which was a phœnix, surrounded by water and clouds, and portraits of the celebrated wives of the Emperor Shun, so beautifully executed that each hair of the head and eyebrows could easily be counted. If any woman’s face came upon the mirror, there it remained indelibly fixed and not to be rubbed out; but if the same woman looked into the mirror again, dressed in a different dress, or if some other woman chanced to look in, then the former face would gradually fade away.

Now the third princess in Prince Su’s family was very beautiful; and Fêng, who had long heard of her fame, concealed himself on the K‘ung-tung hill, when he knew the Princess was going there. He waited until she alighted from her chair, and then getting the mirror full upon her, he walked off home. Laying it on the table, he saw therein a lovely girl in the act of raising her handkerchief, and with a sweet smile playing over her face; her lips seemed about to move, and a twinkle was discernible in her eyes. Delighted with this picture, he put the mirror very carefully away; but in about a year his wife had let the story leak out, and the Prince, hearing of it, threw Fêng into prison, and took possession of the mirror. Fêng was to be beheaded; however, he bribed one of the Prince’s ladies to tell His Highness that if he would pardon him all the treasures of the earth might easily become his; whereas, on the other hand, his death could not possibly be of any advantage to the Prince. The Prince now thought of confiscating all his goods and banishing him; but the third princess observed, that as he had already seen her, were he to die ten times over it would not give her back her lost face, and that she had much better marry him. The Prince would not hear of this, whereupon his daughter shut herself up and refused all nourishment, at which the ladies of the palace were dreadfully alarmed, and reported it at once to the Prince. Fêng was accordingly liberated, and was informed of the determination of the Princess, which, however, he declined to fall in with, saying that he was not going thus to sacrifice the wife of his days of poverty, and would rather die than carry out such an order. He added that if His Highness would consent, he would purchase his liberty at the price of everything he had. The Prince was exceedingly angry at this, and seized Fêng again; and meanwhile one of the concubines got Fêng’s wife into the palace, intending to poison her. Fêng’s wife, however, brought her a beautiful present of a coral stand for a looking glass, and was so agreeable in her conversation, that the concubine took a great fancy to her, and presented her to the Princess, who was equally pleased, and forthwith determined that they would both be Fêng’s wives. When Fêng heard of this plan, he said to his wife, “With a Prince’s daughter there can be no distinctions of first and second wife;” but Mrs. Fêng paid no heed to him, and immediately sent off to the Prince such an enormous quantity of valuables that it took a thousand men to carry them, and the Prince himself had never before heard of such treasures in his life. Fêng was now liberated once more, and solemnized his marriage with the Princess.

One night after this he dreamt that the Eighth Prince came to him and asked him to return his former present, saying that to keep it too long would be injurious to his chances of life. Fêng asked him to take a drink, but the Eighth Prince said that he had forsworn wine, acting under Fêng’s advice, for three years. He then bit Fêng’s arm, and the latter waked up with the pain to find that the cicatrix on his arm was no longer there.

八大王

臨洮馮生,蓋貴介裔而陵夷矣。有漁鱉者,負其債不能償,得鱉輒獻之。一日,獻巨鱉,額有白點。生以其狀異,放之。後自婿家歸,至恆河之側,日已就昏,見一醉者,從二三僮,顛跛而至。遙見生,便問:「何人?」生漫應:「行道者。」醉人怒曰:「寧無姓名,胡言行道者?」生馳驅心急,置不答,逕過之。醉人益怒,捉袂使不得行,酒臭熏人。生更不耐,然力解不能脫。問:「汝何名?」囈然而對曰:「我南都舊令尹也。將何為?」生曰:「世間有此等令尹,辱寞世界矣!幸是舊令尹;假新令尹,將無殺盡途人耶?」醉人怒甚,勢將用武。生大言曰:「我馮某非受人撾打者!」醉人聞之,變怒為懽,踉蹡下拜曰:「是我恩主,唐突勿罪!」起喚從人,先歸治具。生辭之不得。握手行數里,見一小村。既入,則廊舍華好,似貴人家。醉人酲稍解,生始詢其姓字。曰:「言之勿驚,我洮水八大王也。適西山青童招飲,不覺過醉,有犯尊顏,實切愧悚。」生知其妖,以其情辭殷渥,遂不畏怖。俄而設筵豐盛,促坐懽飲。八大王最豪,連舉數觥。生恐其復醉,再作縈擾,偽醉求寢。八大王已喻其意,笑曰:「君得無畏我狂耶?但請勿懼。凡醉人無行,謂隔夜不復記者,欺人耳。酒徒之不德,故犯者十之九。僕雖不齒於儕偶,顧未敢以無賴之行,施之長者,何遂見拒如此?」生乃復坐,正容而諫曰:「既自知之,何勿改行?」八大王曰:「老夫為令尹時,沈湎尤過於今日。自觸帝怒,謫歸島嶼,力返前轍者,十餘年矣。今老將就木,潦倒不能橫飛,故態復作,我自不解耳。茲敬聞命矣。」傾談間,遠鐘已動。八大王起捉臂曰:「相聚不久。蓄有一物,聊報厚德。此不可以久佩,如願後,當見還也。」口中吐一小人,僅寸餘。因以爪掐生臂,痛若膚裂;急以小人按捺其上,釋手已入革裏,甲痕尚在,而漫漫墳起,類痰核狀。驚問之,笑而不答。但曰:「君宜行矣。」送生出,八大王自返。回顧村舍全渺,惟一巨鱉,蠢蠢入水而沒。錯愕久之。自念所獲,必鱉寶也。由此目最明,凡有珠寶之處,黃泉下皆可見;即素所不知之物,亦隨口而知其名。於寢室中掘得藏鏹數百,用度頗充。後有貨故宅者,生視其中有藏鏹無算,遂以重金購居之。由此與王公埒富矣。火齊木難之類皆蓄焉。得一鏡,背有鳳紐,環水雲湘妃之圖,光射里餘,鬚眉皆可數。佳人一照,則影留其中,磨之不能滅也;若改妝重照,或更一美人,則前影消矣。時肅府第三公主絕美,雅慕其名。會主游崆峒,乃往伏山中,伺其下輿,照之而歸,設寘案頭。審視之,見美人在中,拈巾微笑,口欲言而波欲動。喜而藏之。年餘,為妻所洩,聞之肅府。大怒,收之。追鏡去,擬斬。生大賄中貴人,使言於王曰:「王如見赦,天下之至寶,不難致也。不然,有死而已,於王誠無所益。」王欲籍其家而徙之。三公主曰:「彼已窺我,十死亦不足解此玷,不如嫁之。」王不許。公主閉戶不食。妃子大憂,力言於王。王乃釋生囚,命中貴以意示生。生辭曰:「糟糠之妻不下堂,寧死不敢承命。王如聽臣自贖,傾家可也。」王怒,復逮之。妃召生妻入宮,將鴆之。既見,妻以珊瑚鏡臺納妃,辭意溫惻。妃悅之,使參公主。公主亦悅之,訂為姊妹,轉使諭生。生告妻曰:「王侯之女,不可以先後論嫡庶也。」妻不聽,歸修聘幣納王邸,齎送者迨千人。珍石寶玉之屬,王家不能知其名。王大喜,釋生歸,以公主嬪焉。公主仍懷鏡歸。生一夕獨寢,夢八大王軒然入曰:「所贈之物,當見還也。佩之若久,耗人精血,損人壽命。」生諾之,即留宴飲。八大王辭曰:「自聆藥石,戒杯中物已三年矣。」乃以口囓生臂,痛極而醒。視之,則核塊消矣。後此遂如常人。
  異史氏曰:「醒則猶人,而醉則猶鱉,此酒人之大都也。顧鱉雖日習於酒狂乎,而不敢忘恩,不敢無禮於長者,鱉不過人遠哉?若夫己氏則醒不如人,而醉不如鱉矣。古人有龜鑑,盍以為鱉鑑乎?乃作『酒人賦』。賦曰:『有一物焉,陶情適口;飲之則醺醺騰騰,厥名為「酒」。其名最多,為功已久:以宴嘉賓,以速父舅,以促膝而為懽,以合巹而成偶;或以為「釣詩鉤」,又以為「掃愁帚」。故麴生頻來,則騷客之金蘭友;醉鄉深處,則愁人之逋逃藪。糟邱之臺既成,鴟夷之功不朽。齊臣遂能一石,學士亦稱五斗。則酒固以人傳,而人或以酒醜。若夫落帽之孟嘉,荷鍤之伯倫,山公之倒其接䍦,彭澤之漉以葛巾。酣眠乎美人之側也,或察其無心;濡首於墨汁之中也,自以為有神。井底臥乘舩之士,槽邊縛珥玉之臣。甚至效鱉囚而玩世,亦猶非害物而不仁。至如雨宵雪夜,月旦花晨,風定塵短,客舊妓新,履舄交錯,蘭麝香沉,細批薄抹,低唱淺斟;忽清商兮一奏,則寂若兮無人。雅謔則飛花粲齒,高吟則戛玉敲金。總陶然而大醉,亦魂清而夢真。果爾,即一朝一醉,當亦名教之所不嗔。爾乃嘈雜不韻,俚詞並進;坐起讙譁,呶呶成陣。涓滴忿爭,勢將投刃;伸頸攢眉,引杯若鴆;傾瀋碎觥,拂燈滅燼。綠醑葡萄,狼籍不靳;病葉狂花,觴政所禁。如此情懷,不如弗飲。又有酒隔咽喉,間不盈寸;吶吶呢呢,猶譏主吝;坐不言行,飲復不任:酒客無品,於斯為甚。甚有狂藥下,客氣粗;努石棱,磔鬡鬚;袒兩背,躍雙趺。塵濛濛兮滿面,哇浪浪兮沾裾;口狺狺兮亂吠,髮蓬蓬兮若奴。其籲地而呼天也,似李郎之嘔其肝臟;其揚手而擲足也,如蘇相之裂於牛車。舌底生蓮者,不能窮其狀;燈前取影者,不能為之圖。父母前而受忤,妻子弱而難扶。或以父執之良友,無端而受罵於灌夫。婉言以警,倍益眩瞑。此名「酒凶」,不可救拯。惟有一術,可以解酩。厥術維何?祇須一梃。縶其手足,與斬豕等。止困其臀,勿傷其頂,捶至百餘,豁然頓醒。』」

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