Episode 203: Swapping Feet

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Today we will talk about a story of swapping feet from the book YouMingLu 幽明录 from the Liu Song dynasty 刘宋 around the 5th century.

In the book, it says, one day a person suddenly died. The god who in charge of human lives 司明神 checked his record and found out this guy died earlier than he should be. So the god let some assistants to send this guy back to the human world.

However, this guy’s feet started to hurt and couldn’t walk. The god thought for a while and said, “there is a barbarian just died and waiting outside. His feet are totally fine. How about let them change the feet.”

This guy was told his feet would be changed. He didn’t want to because he thought the barbarians’ feet were ugly. The assistants threatened him that, “if you don’t swap feet, you have to stay here for ever.” So the guy swapped feet with the barbarians’ and walked back home.

When the guy woke up, he was lying in his bed like just had a dream. But his feet were for sure from the barbarian since they were hairy and stinky. The guy liked to play with his feet and hands sometimes now he had no desire doing so. Although he came back from death, he felt worse than being dead.

The guy had a friend who knew the barbarian who he was alive and told him the barbarian hadn’t been buried yet. The guy went to see the barbarian’s dead body and saw his own feet on the body and couldn’t help crying.

The son of the barbarian really missed his father. Every festival, and special occasions, he would come to this guy’s house and hold his father’s feet crying. Even sometimes when they encountered on the street, the son would kneed down holding his father’s feet and crying. The guy had to ask people the guard the gate and in case the barbarian’s son came and cry.

The guy himself though really despised the ugly feet he had and even in the hot summer, he would wear long clothing to cover them.



幽明录 YouMingLu

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