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The Wine Insect.

A MR. LIN of Ch‘angshan was extremely fat, and so fond of wine that he would often finish a pitcher by himself. However, he owned about fifty acres of land, half of which was covered with millet, and being well off, he did not consider that his drinking would bring him into trouble. One day a foreign Buddhist priest saw him, and remarked that he appeared to be suffering from some extraordinary complaint. Mr. Lin said nothing was the matter with him; whereupon the priest asked him if he often got drunk. Lin acknowledged that he did; and the priest told him that he was afflicted by the wine insect. “Dear me!” cried Lin, in great alarm, “do you think you could cure me?” The priest declared there would be no difficulty in doing so; but when Lin asked him what drugs he intended to use, the priest said he should not use any at all. He then made Lin lie down in the sun; and tying his hands and feet together, he placed a stoup of good wine about half a foot from his head. By-and-by, Lin felt a deadly thirst coming on; and the flavour of the wine passing through his nostrils, seemed to set his vitals on fire. Just then he experienced a tickling sensation in his throat, and something ran out of his mouth and jumped into the wine. On being released from his bonds, he saw that it was an insect about three inches in length, which wriggled about in the wine like a tadpole, and had mouth and eyes all complete. Lin was overjoyed, and offered money to the priest, who refused to take it, saying, all he wanted was the insect, which he explained to Lin was the essence of wine, and which, on being stirred up in water, would turn it into wine. Lin tried this, and found it was so; and ever afterwards he detested the sight of wine. He subsequently became very thin, and so poor that he had hardly enough to eat and drink.




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