At the beginning of the current dynasty there lived an old man who wanted to make the ultimate sacrifice--taking his own life--to display his unbounded loyalty to the previous Ming dynasty. He was, however, too scared to commit suicide. He didn't fancy the idea of using a knife, nor did he care for the idea of hanging himself. Incineration was similarly unappealing.
Eventually, he struck upon the notion of emulating a certain Minister Xinling, who had apparently committed suicide by indulging in an excess of wine and women. Thus resolved, our Ming loyalist brought in several concubines and mistresses and thereafter indulged himself in unlimited lascivious pursuits.
This went on for years, yet still he showed no signs of dying from his excesses. The only effects on his body were that his nerves were shot, his head protruded at an unusual angle, and his back developed a hump. Indeed, he was so badly hunched over that he looked for all the world like a giant cooked prawn.
His crooked gait was almost a crawl on all fours, so people in the region called him the Human Prawn. He stayed in this prawnlike state for over twenty years and died at the ripe old age of eighty-four. My friend Wang Zijian told me that he had seen this old man with his very own eyes when he was just a young boy.