…At The Grindstones

{October 1, 2010}   Ten Thousand Peach Blossoms

If Hsi-men Ching had not heard these words nothing might have happened, but having heard them:

The spirits of his Three Corpses became agitated;

The breaths of his Five Viscera ascended to Heaven.

Anger flared in his heart, and

Malice accrued in his gall.

Heading straight for P’an Chin-lien’s quarters;

Without permitting any further explanation,

he sought out the cat and, dangling it by one foot, strode out onto the veranda, took aim at the stone stylobate, swung the cat up into the air, and dashed it against it. All that could be heard was:

A single resounding report,

at which,

The contents of it’s brain burst into

ten thousand peach blossoms,

Its mouthful of teeth were reduced to

scattered fragments of jade.


No longer able in the world of light

to capture rats or mice,

It reverts to the abode of the dead

to become a fox-fairy.

When P’an Chin-lien saw that he had taken her cat out and dashed it to death, she sat on her k’ang. Without turning so much as a hair, and waited until he had vacated her quarters, muttering to herself, as she cursed him, saying, “You lousy death-defying ruffian! If you had only dragged me out and killed me, it would have been more heroic of you. Did the cat really get in the way of your shit-eating business so much that you felt compelled to barge in here, like a madman, and dash it to death? When it comes before the authorities in the nether world, it’s likely to demand your life in compensation. What are you so exercised about? You’ll come to a bad end, you lousy fickle ruffian!”


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