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An anecdote about a missing cat, recorded by Lu You 陸游 (1125-1209)

其孫女封崇國夫人者,謂之童夫人,蓋小名也。愛一獅貓,忽亡之,立限令臨安府訪求。及期,貓不獲,府為捕繫鄰居民家,且欲劾兵官。兵官惶恐,步行求貓。凡獅貓悉捕致,而皆非也。乃賂入宅老卒,詢其狀,圖百本,於茶肆張之。府尹因嬖人祈懇乃已。

[Qin Hui’s][1] granddaughter, Lady of Chongguo, had the sobriquet Kid Lady.[2] [She] adored a lion-cat and lost it unexpectedly. [She] set a deadline for the city council of Lin’an[3] to look for it. The deadline passed; the cat was still missing. The council seized common residents in the neighbourhood and intended to impeach the gendarmerie. Fretting about this, the gendarmes were run off their feet seeking the cat, getting hold of all lion-cats that could be found; yet none was the one. Then [they] bribed an old house servant [of the lady] to enquire about the cat’s look, having hundreds of copies [of its likeness] drawn and posted in teahouses. The case was only dropped after the head of the council had his concubine plead [with the lady].


* From Lu You 陸游 (1125-1209) Lao xuean biji 老學庵筆記 (Quan Song biji 全宋筆記 edition, Series 5, Vol. 8, edited by Li Changxian 李昌憲, Zhengzhou: Daxiang chubanshe, 2012), 3.33. See also the Chongwen shuju congshu 崇文書局叢書 edition: https://ctext.org/library.pl?if=en&file=85091&page=51.

[1] Qin Hui 秦檜 (1090-1155), a powerful statesman of the Song Dynasty, is one of the most infamous historical figures in Chinese popular culture for the part he played in the persecution and execution of the general Yue Fei 岳飛 (1103-1142), who dedicated himself to retrieving Song territories that had been lost to the Jurchens in the north. [2] This anecdote is retold in Feng Menglong’s 馮夢龍 (1574-1646) Yushi mingyan 喻世明言, a 17th-century collection of vernacular short stories. Elaborated and integrated into a short story about Qin Hui, the anecdote is used as evidence to show how privileged Qin Hui and his family were in those days. In this short story, Feng Menglong provides extra information to establish the historical context. For example, the granddaughter in question was entitled Lady of Chongguo at birth, and the incident of the missing cat took place when she was about six years old; see https://ctext.org/library.pl?if=en&file=47871&page=10. [3] Lin’an was then the capital city of the Song empire.



 

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Seems a reasonable and proportionate response. Any anecdotes about prosecuting the owners of dogs who terrorise their beloved felines?

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