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Cat the hunter


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:

"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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