Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

By Kam Louie; Louise Edwards et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Animals and Humans Are
Equally Unpredictable

"One should not keep a chicken for longer than three years and dogs should be gotten rid of after a maximum of six"--or so the saying goes in the Soushenji. Animals, it appears, should not be kept for too long.

One of my domestic servants, a man by the name of Sun Huizhong, had a big yellow dog that everyone knew to be docile and quite harmless. It had the endearing habit of begging food off the dinner table with a cheerful wag of its tail.

The dog always saw Sun off when he left on an errand and faithfully greeted him on his return home. Sun, of course, was extremely fond of his canine friend--that is, until the day the dog gouged a hole in Sun's hand as he passed down a piece of meat.

The wound was incredibly painful and poor Sun fainted from the shock and fell to the floor. Once he had recovered sufficiently, Sun beat his dog to death.

The unpredictable nature of animal behavior is similarly illustrated by the example of a tiger keeper from Yangzhou by the name of Zhao Jiu. He made his living by parading a caged tiger around the markets.

For ten coppers Zhao would let the tiger out of its cage, then place his head inside the animal's mouth and rub it between the mighty jaws until it was quite dripping with saliva. The watching crowd would roar with laughter as Zhao wandered off unharmed.

He performed this amazing stunt many times over a period of two years without mishap, until one day, while performing at Pingshan Pavilion, the tiger severed his head with one mighty bite.

The shocked crowd hurriedly notified their local officials of the disaster and a hunter was dispatched with instructions to kill the tiger.

So, because animals are regarded as unpredictable, we are often advised that humans should not live in close proximity to birds or


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 223

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?