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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.

酒蟲

長山劉氏,體肥嗜飲。每獨酌,輒盡一甕。負郭田三百畝,輒半種黍;而家豪富,不以飲為累也。一番僧見之,謂其身有異疾。劉答言:「無。」僧曰:「君飲嘗不醉否?」曰:「有之。」曰:「此酒蟲也。」劉愕然,便求醫療。曰:「易耳。」問:「需何藥?」俱言不須。但令於日中俯臥,縶手足;去首半尺許,置良醞一器。移時,燥渴,思飲為極。酒香入鼻,饞火上熾,而苦不得飲。忽覺咽中暴癢,哇有物出,直墮酒中。解縛視之,赤肉長三寸許,蠕動如游魚,口眼悉備。劉驚謝。酬以金,不受,但乞其蟲。問:「將何用?」曰:「此酒之精,甕中貯水,入蟲攪之,即成佳釀。」劉使試之,果然。劉自是惡酒如仇。體漸瘦,家亦日貧,後飲食至不能給。
  異史氏曰:「日盡一石,無損其富;不飲一斗,適以益貧:豈飲啄固有數乎?或言:『蟲是劉之福,非劉之病,僧愚之以成其術。』然歟否歟?」

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