Episode 204: The Cricket

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

In the book, it says, a person was involved in a crime and locked in the prison. He didn’t do anything outlaw just being unlucky. In the cell, he saw a cricket crawling and said, “if you have magic power, pleas help me get out.” Then he fed the cricket with his own food. The cricket ate the food and disappeared in a small hole.

After a while, the cricket came back and looked a little bigger than before. The person thought it was interesting and fed him more. Day after day, the cricket was the size of a piglet. On the day of the execution, the pig sized cricket dug a big hole on the wall and the person escaped.

It reminds me of an Italian tale from the book Pentamerone or The Tale of Tales by the author Giambattista Basile between the year 1566 to 1632 called the Flea. The beginning of the story goes like this “’The king of High Mountain was once bitten by a flea, and when he had picked it off with great dexterity and saw how beautiful and solidly built it was, it seemed a shame to him to execute it on the block of his fingernail. And so he placed it in a carafe and, feeding it daily with blood from his own arm, it grew so quickly that at the end of seven months, when he had to change its quarters, it was bigger than a lamb. On seeing this, the king had it skinned, and when the skin had been dressed he issued a proclamation: whoever was able to recognize to which animal the hide belonged would be given his daughter in marriage.”

It is interesting to see the similarities of the two stories that a cricket or a flea can grow to the size of a pig or a lamb..




幽明录 YouMingLu

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