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Cat the hunter

趙人患鼠,乞貓於中山,中山人予之。貓善捕鼠及雞,月餘,鼠盡而其雞亦盡,其子患之,告其父曰:“盍去諸?”其父曰:“是非若所知也,吾之患在鼠,不在乎無雞。夫有鼠則竊吾食,毀吾衣,穿吾垣墉,壞傷吾器用,吾將饑寒焉。不病於無雞乎?無雞者弗食雞則已耳,去饑寒猶遠,若之何而去夫貓也?”

A man from Zhao was bothered by mice and looked for a cat in Zhongshan, where someone gave one to him. The cat was good at catching mice and chickens. After a month, the mice were all gone; so were his chickens. With great concern, his son told him [about it], saying, “Why not get rid of it?” The father said, “You don’t understand. My problem lies in mice, not in the lack of chickens. When there are mice, [they] steal my food, destroy my clothes, tunnel through my walls, and spoil my utensils, so that I will starve and freeze. Isn’t that much worse than having no chickens? When there are no chickens, [I] just don’t eat any chicken, and that’s far from starving and freezing. Why would [I] get rid of the cat!”


* From Liu Ji 劉基 (1311-1375), Yulizi 郁離子 (Shouyue pian 守約篇 edition, preface dated 1875): 1.44b-45a: https://ctext.org/library.pl?if=gb&file=82910&page=97.


"Ximao tu" 戲貓圖 by Shang Xi 商喜 (fl. 15th century)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei


A proud hunter with her trophy

 

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