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A Quirky Indicator of Summer Solstice

水歸東海化為氣。鶴食從頂咽下,云一百六十年一胎生。牛不耳聽,聽以角。夏至日貓鼻暖,餘日皆冷。予以此言於人,遇夏至日驗之,貓鼻仍冷,不信。予曰:“未至夏至時刻。”忽至,此時乃暖。以此物物要格。

Water returns to the Eastern Sea and transforms into vital force. Cranes swallow food from the top of their heads and allegedly give birth once in a hundred and sixty years. Cattle do not listen with their ears, but with their horns. On the summer solstice, a cat’s nose becomes warm, [yet] it is cold on all the other days. I told someone about this. Trying to verify it on the summer solstice, [he] found [his] cat’s nose cold and poured discredit [on this theory]. I said, “It is not precisely the moment of summer solstice yet.” Suddenly [the moment] came, and its nose became warm. This is why it is essential to scrutinise everything.


* From Cao An 曹安 (fl. 15th cenutry), Lanyan zhangyu 讕言長語, Wenyuange Siku Quanshu 文淵閣四庫全書 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1987) edition, vol. 867, 53b:


"Heting naliang" 荷亭納涼 (Escaping the heat in a Pavilion among the Lotus), anonymous artist of the Song dynasty (960-1279)

To be tested on the next summer solstice...

 

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