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Death by laughing

A Mr. Sun Ching-hsia, a marshal of undergraduates, told me that in his village there was a certain man who had been killed by the rebels when they passed through the place. The man's head was left hanging down on his chest; and as soon as the rebels had gone, his servants secured the body and were about to bury it. Hearing, however, a sound of breathing, they looked more closely, and found that the windpipe was not wholly severed; and, setting his head in its proper place, they carried him back home. In twenty-four hours he began to moan; and by dint of carefully feeding him with a spoon, within six months he had quite recovered.

Some ten years afterwards he was chatting with a few friends, when one of them made a joke which called forth loud applause from the others. Our hero, too, clapped his hands; but, as he was bending backwards and forwards with laughter, the seam on his neck split open, and down fell his head with a gush of blood.

His friends now found that he was quite dead, and his father immediately commenced an action against the joker; but a sum of money was subscribed by those present and given to the father, who buried his son and stopped further proceedings.

諸城某甲

諸城孫景夏學師言:其邑中某甲,值流寇亂,被殺,首墜胸前。寇退,家人得尸,將舁瘞之,聞其氣縷縷然,審視之,咽不斷者盈指。遂扶其頭荷之以歸。經一晝夜能呻,以匕箸稍哺飲食,半年竟愈,又十余年,與二三人聚談,或作一解頤語,眾為哄堂,甲亦鼓掌。一俯仰間,刀痕暴裂,頭墮血流,共視之已死。父訟笑者,眾斂金賂之,乃葬甲。
異史氏曰:「一笑頭落,此千古第一大笑也。頭連一線而不死,直待十年后成一笑獄,豈非二三鄰人,負債前生者耶!」

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