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Diary of a Madman

Two brothers, whose names I will not now disclose, were long ago good primary school friends of mine.  Being separated, news of them steadily decreased as the years past.  A few days ago I heard that one of them was very sick, and as I was planning on returning to my hometown anyway I made a detour to check on him.  But I was met by only one person, who proceeded to tell me the stricken was his younger brother. He apologized for the inconvenience of my trip, but said his brother had already recovered and left to become a minor official in some other area.  This made him smile and he took out two of his brother’s diaries to show me.  Being a gentleman and old friend, he gave them to me and stated they demonstrate his brother’s past condition.  I carried them home, and after reading them knew that what he suffered was a type of “persecuted madness”. The writings were jumbled, without order, and contained many fantastical claims.  Dates were also absent, and it was only the presence of different shades of ink that hinted it was not the work of one sitting.  Present within were connections among some writings, and I’ve gathered these into one to give to doctors to research purposes.  Not one grammatical mistake within the diary was altered.  Only the names of a few villagers unknown to the outside world were changed because it had no impact on the whole.  In regards to the title, the protagonist himself came up with it after his recovery and I see no reason to change it.  Written on the second of April in the seventh year of the Republic.  

 

 

1

This evening there is bright moonlight.

It’s already been more than 30 years since I’ve seen him; seeing him today made me especially cheerful.  It was only then I realized that the last thirty years have been complete darkness.  I need to be especially cautious, otherwise the Zhao’s dog might not even bother to pay me any attention.

I fear there’s meaning in the dog’s eyes.  

 

 

2

Tonight is completely without moonlight and I know that’s not a good sign.  This morning I was careful going outside.  Old Zhao looked at me in a strange way--almost like he was afraid of me, or that wanted to hurt me.  There were seven or eight others huddled together whispering about me, smiling at me with their mouths wide open.  A chill swept down from my head to the soles of my feet, for I knew their plans were already in place.

I’m wasn’t afraid of them and continued on my way.  Ahead was a group of small children also talking about me; their iron-colored faces looked at me with the same gaze as Old Zhao.  I wondered what enmity the children and I could possibly have that would cause them to look at me in this manner.  Being unable to contain myself, I said in a loud voice, “Tell me!”.  They immediately scurried off.

I thought about all possible enmities Old Zhao and I could share, as well as with those whom I ran into on the road.  There’s only one thing:  an incident from about 20 years ago, when I stomped on Mister Ancient’s Book of Aged Flowing Water.  Mister Ancient was quite sore about it.  Though Old Zhao doesn’t know Mister Ancient, he certainly must have heard of the incident and is now expressing anger on his behalf.  He arranged for everyone on the road to point bitter fingers at me. But why the small children?  They were not yet born when this happened; how can they now look at me with strange eyes, like they’re afraid of me or want to hurt me?  This truly frightens me, surprises me and saddens me.

I know.  Their parents must have taught them.

 

 

3

        I never can sleep at night.  All things must be studied before they can be understood.

        Those people I saw yesterday--some of them have worn the magistrate’s cangue and slapped by gentlemen, others have had their wives violated by officials and their parents hounded to death by creditors. Yet in comparison to when these things were happening, yesterday the looked more terrified and far more ferocious.

        The strangest thing yesterday was the woman I saw hitting her son on the street.  She said, “Big man, huh! I’m going to bite you a few times to let my anger out!”  The thing is... she was looking at me.  I couldn’t conceal my horror, and that group of rat-like fiends all began to laugh at me.  Old fifth-brother Chen hurried forward and forcefully guided me home. 

        Everyone in the house pretended like they didn’t know me after my return.  They wore the same expressions on their faces as those I had just seen outside.  They put me into the library, left and locked the door in the same manner as they would shut a chicken or duck in its cage.  I was left feeling even more unsure as to the meaning of this.

        A couple of days ago a tenant from Wolf Village came back to share the news--he told my elder brother that the villagers beat a big villain to death.  A few of the villagers, wanting to become braver, cut out his heart and liver, fried them with oil, and ate them.  After hearing this I interrupted them, and both the tenant and my elder brother looked at me for a moment.  It was then that I realized their gazes were precisely the same as those I had seen earlier on faces outside.

        When I think about it, a chill sweeps down from my forehead to the soles of my feet.

        If they can eat people, then there’s no reason they couldn’t eat me.

        Observe the woman’s “bite you a few times” talk, the laughs of that group of ratty fiends together with the tenant’s story, and it’s clear that a signal is being sent.  I can see the poison in theirs words and daggers in their laughs.  Their teeth, lined up, glitter white--these are folks who eat people.

        It’s my opinion that, although I’m not an evil person, ever since I stomped on that great family’s book it’s difficult to say one way or another.  It’s like they have other thoughts, ideas that are completely foreign to me.  In addition, they’re quick to call somebody a villain.  I still remember my elder brother instructing me in the ways of rhetoric.  It didn’t matter how good a person was, he would immediately draw a red circle around opinions I formulated myself; if I wrote a few sentences forgiving a bad person, he would say “What a skilled person, different from all the rest.”  I was able to guess what he really meant by his words, and this is when he wanted to eat.

        All things must be studied before they can be understood.  I can still remember, though not very clearly, that people have eaten human flesh since ancient times.  I flipped open the history book, one that doesn’t mention which years it covers, and each crooked page has the words “Humanity, Justice, Virtue, Morality” written all over it.  I read the book closely late into the night, I couldn’t sleep anyway.  Finally, I saw between the lines that the whole book was filled with two words: “eat people”!

        For all the words written in the book, and all the things the tenant said, they’re all actually grinning at me with strange, wide gaze. 

        I’m also a person.  They would like to eat me!

 

 

4

        I sat silently for a while this morning.  Old fifth-brother Chen brought me food--one bowl of rice and one of steamed fish.  The fish’s eyes were hard and white, the way it mouth hung open was the same as that group of people hungry for human flesh.  After a few bites the fish became so slippery that I didn’t know if it was fish or human, and I threw up everything I had eaten.

        I said: “Old fifth-brother, tell my elder brother I can’t stand the stuffiness in here. I want to walk around the yard a bit.”  Old fifth-brother started to leave without answering, but then stopped a minute and opened the door.

        I also didn’t move.  Having studied their methods of manipulation I knew that they would certaintly be against releasing me.  As expected!  My elder brother led an old man with eyes filled with fury slowly into the room.  Being afraid that I would notice, he kept his head pointed towards the floor and looked at me quietly from behind the corner of his glasses. Elder brother said, “You look very good today.” I answered, “I am.” “I brought Doctor He here today,” elder brother continued, “to take a quick look at you.” “Sure,” I answered, as if I didn’t know that this old guy was acting the butcher.  He was simply using the premise of examining me in order to appraise the quality of my meat.  For his labor he would get a piece of my flesh.  I was not afraid; even though I don’t eat people I am actually braver than they are.  I stretched out two fists and waited to see how they would do it.  The old man was sitting with his eyes closed.  He rubbed my wrists for a minute and then paused.  Finally, he opened his evil eyes and said, “Don’t have crazy thoughts.  Rest up in peace and quiet for a few days and you’ll be better.”

        Don’t have crazy thoughts, rest in peace and quiet!  Rest until I’m fat and then they’ll have more to eat, but what good will that do me, how will I “be better?”  On one hand, these people want human flesh, on the other hand they want to cover it up--not being daring enough to just do it they search for a method to disguise it.  I’m going to die from the comedy! I couldn’t contain it and started laughing loudly--it felt great.  I knew that inside those laughs were righteousness and justness.  That righteousness and justness crushed the old man and my elder brother, draining their faces of color.

        But my bravery makes them want to eat me even more, so that they can absorb some of it.  The old man strode out the door but before going too far said to my elder brother in hushed tones, “hurry up and eat!”  My elder brother nodded in response.  So you’re in on it too!  This huge discovery, although unforeseen, was not completely unexpected.  My elder brother is part of the group of people who wants to eat me.

        My elder brother eats people.

        I am the brother of a person who eats people.

        Though I may be eaten by others, I am still the brother of a person who eats people.

        

5

        In the last few days I took a step back in my thinking.  Hypothetically, even if that old man wasn’t a butcher pretending to be a doctor but actually was a doctor, that doesn’t change the fact that he is still a person who eats human flesh.  That book, Medicine something or other, that the forefather of all doctors Li Shizhen wrote clearly states that you can eat fried human meat.  Can you still say that you don’t eat human flesh?

        As far as my older brother is regarded, it is not like I’m slandering him. He himself told me, while he was giving me lessons, that it is okay to “trade children for food in times of distress”. There was another time when he unexpectedly started discussing a bad person. He said that not only should the person be killed, but that his “flesh should be eaten and his skin made into blankets”. I was still quite small at the time remained jumpy for a long period afterwards. When the tenant from Wolf Village returned a few days ago to tell us about eating a man’s heart and liver, elder brother didn’t show the slightest sign of thinking this was strange; in fact he didn’t stop nodding his head. It’s clear that his thoughts are just as cruel as they were before.  Being that it is acceptable to “trade children for food in times of distress”, then anything can be traded, anything can be eaten. Before, when I listened to him speak of reason, I was confused and let these things slip past. Now I know that when he spoke of reason he not only had fat from flesh smeared over his lips, he mind was also packed full with thoughts towards eating people.

 

 

6

Pitch black. I don’t know whether it’s day or night. The Zhao’s dog has started barking again.

Ferocity of the lion, timidity of the hare, cleverness of the fox.

 

7

I know their methods now. They don’t want to simply kill me; they wouldn’t dare because they’re afraid it will bring evil spirits upon them. Everybody’s working together to lay a trap with the purpose of driving me to kill myself. Observe the way the kids looked a few days ago and how my brother’s been acting these past few days, and it’s pretty clear what’s going on. The ideal outcome would be for me to undo my belt, drape it over the rafters, and hang myself. They could realize their wishes without being labeled murders, and they’ll of course rejoice, letting out laughter disguised as sobs.  If I were to die frightened and worried, although I’d be a bit thin, I’d still be able to nod my head a few times.

They can only eat dead meat! I remember that in a book I saw there was this thing called a “Hyena”–both its appearance and glare were very ugly. It would methodically bite and swallow the rotten meat off of even the largest of bones--just thinking of it is enough to make people frightened. The “Hyena” is a relative of the wolf, and dogs are in the same family as the wolf. It’s clear by how the Zhao’s dog looked at me two days ago that the matter has already been discussed and it’s in on the plan. The old man looked at the floor, but could he fool me?

The most pitiable one is my elder brother. How is he not afraid—he’s a person too—and how could he be part of the group that will eat me? Is it that we’ve become numb to it and don’t think it’s wrong or is it that we’ve lost the goodness in us and we clearly know what we’re doing is wrong?

If I curse people who eat human flesh, I will start with him. If I can persuade people who eat human flesh to change , then with him is where I must begin.

 

 

8

Actually, they should already understand this reasoning by now…

A person came out of nowhere. He was about 20 years old–I wasn’t able to get a good reading on him–and his face was covered with a large smile. He nodded at me; his smile didn’t look genuine. Then I asked him: “You’ve come for eating people, right?” He maintained a smile and said: “There is no famine this year, how could people be eaten?” I knew immediately that he was part of the group. My courage increased hundred-fold, and I really wanted to ask him.

“Right?”

“Why would you ask this kind of thing. You really can… Joke… The weather is really nice today.”

The weather is good, and the moon is very bright. But I want to ask you: “Right?”

 He didn’t agree, and sputtered out, “No.”

“No? Then why did they eat?!”

“That never happened…”

“It never happened? Wolf Village just did, and it’s written in the books too, like it was just written yesterday!”

His face changed and became black as iron. With wide eyes he said: “There has happened before, but it’s always been like this…”

“Does that make it right?”

“I’m not going to speak about these things with you. You shouldn’t talk about them, and you’re making a mistake in doing so!”

I jumped up with wide eyes and this person was gone. My whole body broke out in sweat.  Although he is much younger than my elder brother, they’re still part of the same group. This must be something he was taught by the elders. I’m worried that he’s already taught his son and even his small son now looks at me with fierce eyes.

 

 

9

        You want to eat people but you’re afraid of other people eating you. Each individual looks at the others with extremely suspicious glances.

        When thoughts of this are banished, it becomes so simple to have confidence when walking outside, eating, and sleeping.  This is just one stumbling block, one door to pass through.  They’re fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, wives, friends, teachers, students, enemies, and all different types of people who don’t even know one another.  They came together as a group, encouraging each other, pressuring each other, and they’d rather die than to take this step.

 

 

10

        It was early in the morning when I went to look for my elder brother.  He was standing outside the front door looking at the sky.  I walked behind him and blocked the door, and with an unusual calmness said to him: “Elder brother, there’s something I’d like to tell you.”

        “Please, go ahead.” He said quickly turning and nodding.

        “I only have a few sentences, but I haven’t yet been able to say them. Elder brother, around the beginning savages all ate a little bit of human flesh.  Because people came to have different feelings over it, later some no longer ate human flesh.  With one taste they became good, they became real people.  There were some who, like insects, continued to eat human flesh.  Some changed into fish, then birds, then monkeys; some even changed into humans.  Some people weren’t good and continue to be insects to this day.  People who eat human flesh are unquestionably lacking in comparison with those who don’t.  I’m afraid that even guilty monkeys are much more worse than insects.”

        “Yi Ya of the Qi Kingdom steamed his son and gave him to Zhou of the Shang and Jie of the Xia dynasties to eat.  This was always a thing of the past.  Who would have thought that from the time Pangu created the world to Yi Ya’s son, and again from Yi Ya’s son to Xu Xilin, from Xu Xilin in an unbroken line once again when the person was caught in Wolf Village.  They killed a criminal in the city last year.  There was a man sick with tuberculosis who dipped his bun into the criminal’s blood and ate it.”

        “They want to eat me.  At the beginning I couldn’t imagine that you would also want to --why would you join them?  People who eat human flesh can’t do anything.  They’ll eat me; they can also eat you.  They’ll eat members of their own group.  But all you need to do is have a slight change of heart, to change immediately, and everyone will be happy and peaceful.  Even though its always been this way, we can start to be exceptionally well today.  Can you say we can’t?  Older brother, I believe you can say it.  The day before yesterday the tenant wanted cheaper rent but you said it wasn’t possible.”

In the beginning he just looked at me with a cold smile.  As I went on his gaze turned more and more to anger, to the point of turning completely black when I aired his secret feelings out in the open. There was a group of people standing just outside the great door who leaned quietly inward to get a better look.  The group included Old Zhao and his dog.  Some of the people’s faces were difficult to see clearly, as if they were covered in dark cloth.  Others looked the same as before with their rat-like, fiendish faces, using their hands to cover up their smiles.

I know they’re a group of people who eat human flesh.  But I also know that their thoughts were fairly mixed.  There is a portion of them who think that people should be eaten and that its always been this way; and then there’s some who know you shouldn’t eat human flesh but still want to.  He feared that others will raise this with him, so as he listened to me speak he became more and more furious, but he just covered his mouth and smiled coldly.

At this point my older brother’s face suddenly broke out in anger and he yelled: “Everybody leave!  What’s so fun about a crazy person?”

I then came to understand another one of their clever moves.  Not only did they not want to change but they had prepared early to slander me with the label of a crazy person.  This when when they eat me all will be fine and no one will see the true nature of the deed.  The tenant said that everybody ate a “wicked” person, and it’s clear that they’re using the same trick here as well.

Old Fifth Brother Chen cut a path directly towards me with an angry look on his face.  I don’t know how he managed to cover my mouth but I wanted even more to say to this group of people: “If you start with a pure heart you can change.  You need to know that in the future people who eat human flesh won’t be tolerated in this world.”

“If you don’t change, you’re going to eat each other until no one is left.  Even if you have lots of kids, you’ll wipe out all of the real people.  Just like how the hunters hunted wolves to extinction-----just like insects!

All the people watching were herded away by Old Fifth Brother Chen.  I had no idea where my elder brother went.  Old Fifth brother Chen persuaded me to return to my room.  The room was pitch black.  The beams and rafters shook above my head; after a little while their intensity increased and they piled up on my body.  

The weight was crushing to the point where I could not longer move.  They wanted me to die.  I knew the weight wasn’t real so I started struggling against it.  I was sweating profusely and now wanted to say even more:

“Change immediately, start with a pure heart.  You need to know that in the future people who eat human flesh won’t be tolerated in this world...”

 

 

11

Each day is two meals.  The sun doesn’t appear.  The door doesn’t open.

I thought of my elder brother as I pinched my chopsticks together. I was now certain that our sister’s death was also his fault.  She was five when it happened; I can still see her cute, pitiful face.  Mother wouldn’t stop crying.  He tried to assuage my mother’s tears, probably because he ate her and seeing mother cry made him feel bad.  That’s if he was still capable of feeling bad...

Our sister was eaten by my elder brother.  I will never be able to find out if mother knew the truth or not.

My guess is that mother knew but she chose not to say anything because she believed that what my brother had done was probably right.  I remember being four or five and sitting out in front of the house.  As I was enjoying the breeze, older brother came up to me and said that if father or mother ever became sick, as a son it was my responsibility to slice off a strip of my skin, cook it and give it to them to eat.  This is what made a person good.  I do not remember mother objecting even though she heard what he said.  If they could eat a strip of skin it’s only natural that they could eat the whole thing.  But to this day when I think of mother’s tears I become sad--what a strange thing this is!

 

 

12

        I can’t think about it anymore.

        Four thousand years of people eating other people and only today do I understand that for many years I was one of this group’s members. Our sister died when my older brother was responsible for the doing our family’s chores. There’s no reason to believe that he didn’t feed us some of her meat in the meals that he made.

It’s possible that I ate some of my sister’s flesh without even knowing it, and now it might be my turn.

        Me, with four-thousand years of experience eating human flesh, know now what I didn’t know in the beginning--it’s hard to meet real people.

 

 

13

Does this earth still have children who know not the experience of eating human flesh?

Save the children... 

 

 

April 1918

 

狂人日記

某君昆仲,今隱其名,皆余昔日在中學校時良友;分隔多年,消息漸闕。日前偶聞其一大病;適歸故鄉,迂道往訪,則僅晤一人,言病者其弟也。勞君遠道來視,然已早愈,赴某地候補矣。因大笑,出示日記二冊,謂可見當日病狀,不妨獻諸舊友。持歸閱一過,知所患蓋「迫害狂」之類。語頗錯雜無倫次,又多荒唐之言;亦不著月日,惟墨色字體不一,知非一時所書。間亦有略具聯絡者,今撮錄一篇,以供醫家研究。記中語誤,一字不易;惟人名雖皆村人,不爲世間所知,無關大體,然亦悉易去。至於書名,則本人愈後所題,不復改也。七年四月二日識。

 

 

今天晚上,很好的月光。

 

我不見他,已是三十多年;今天見了,精神分外爽快。才知道以前的三十多年,全是發昏;然而須十分小心。不然,那趙家的狗,何以看我兩眼呢?

 

我怕得有理。

 

 

 

今天全沒月光,我知道不妙。早上小心出門,趙貴翁的眼色便怪:似乎怕我,似乎想害我。還有七八個人,交頭接耳的議論我,張著嘴,對我笑了一笑;我便從頭直冷到腳根,曉得他們佈置,都已妥當了。

 

我可不怕,仍舊走我的路。前面一夥小孩子,也在那裡議論我;眼色也同趙貴翁一樣,臉色也鐵青。我想我同小孩子有什麼仇,他也這樣。忍不住大聲説,“你告訴我!”他們可就跑了。

 

我想:我同趙貴翁有什麼仇,同路上的人又有什麼仇;只有廿年以前,把古久先生的陳年流水簿子,踹了一腳,古久先生很不高興。趙貴翁雖然不認識他,一定也聽到風聲,代抱不平;約定路上的人,同我作冤對。但是小孩子呢?那時候,他們還沒有出世,何以今天也睜著怪眼睛,似乎怕我,似乎想害我。這真教我怕,教我納罕而且傷心。

 

我明白了。這是他們娘老子教的!

 

 

 

晚上總是睡不著。凡事須得研究,才會明白。

 

他們——也有給知縣打枷過的,也有給紳士掌過嘴的,也有衙役佔了他妻子的,也有老子娘被債主逼死的;他們那時候的臉色,全沒有昨天這麼怕,也沒有這麼凶。

 

最奇怪的是昨天街上的那個女人,打他兒子,嘴裡説道,“老子呀!我要咬你幾口才出氣!”他眼睛卻看著我。我出了一驚,遮掩不住;那青面獠牙的一夥人,便都哄笑起來。陳老五趕上前,硬把我拖回家中了。

 

拖我回家,家裡的人都裝作不認識我;他們的臉色,也全同別人一樣。進了書房,便反扣上門,宛然是關了一隻雞鴨。這一件事,越教我猜不出底細。

 

前幾天,狼子村的佃戶來告荒,對我大哥説,他們村裡的一個大惡人,給大家打死了;幾個人便挖出他的心肝來,用油煎炒了吃,可以壯壯膽子。我插了一句嘴,佃戶和大哥便都看我幾眼。今天才曉得他們的眼光,全同外面的那夥人一模一樣。

 

想起來,我從頂上直冷到腳跟。

 

他們會吃人,就未必不會吃我。

 

你看那女人“咬你幾口”的話,和一夥青面獠牙人的笑,和前天佃戶的話,明明是暗號。我看出他話中全是毒,笑中全是刀。他們的牙齒,全是白厲厲的排著,這就是吃人的傢夥。

 

照我自己想,雖然不是惡人,自從踹了古家的簿子,可就難説了。他們似乎別有心思,我全猜不出。況且他們一翻臉,便説人是惡人。我還記得大哥教我做論,無論怎樣好人,翻他幾句,他便打上幾個圈;原諒壞人幾句,他便説“翻天妙手,與眾不同”。我那裡猜得到他們的心思,究竟怎樣;況且是要吃的時候。

 

凡事總須研究,才會明白。古來時常吃人,我也還記得,可是不甚清楚。我翻開歷史一查,這歷史沒有年代,歪歪斜斜的每頁上都寫著“仁義道德”幾個字。我橫豎睡不著,仔細看了半夜,才從字縫裡看出字來,滿本都寫著兩個字是“吃人”!

 

書上寫著這許多字,佃戶説了這許多話,卻都笑吟吟的睜著怪眼看我。

 

我也是人,他們想要吃我了!

 

 

 

早上,我靜坐了一會兒。陳老五送進飯來,一碗菜,一碗蒸魚;這魚的眼睛,白而且硬,張著嘴,同那一夥想吃人的人一樣。吃了幾筷,滑溜溜的不知是魚是人,便把他兜肚連腸的吐出。

 

我説“老五,對大哥説,我悶得慌,想到園裡走走。”老五不答應,走了;停一會,可就來開了門。

 

我也不動,研究他們如何擺佈我;知道他們一定不肯放鬆。果然!我大哥引了一個老頭子,慢慢走來;他滿眼凶光,怕我看出,只是低頭向著地,從眼鏡橫邊暗暗看我。大哥説,“今天你彷彿很好。”我説“是的。”大哥説,“今天請何先生來,給你診一診。”我説“可以!”其實我豈不知道這老頭子是劊子手扮的!無非借了看脈這名目,揣一揣肥瘠:因這功勞,也分一片肉吃。我也不怕;雖然不吃人,膽子卻比他們還壯。伸出兩個拳頭,看他如何下手。老頭子坐著,閉了眼睛,摸了好一會,呆了好一會;便張開他鬼眼睛説,“不要亂想。靜靜的養幾天,就好了。”

 

不要亂想,靜靜的養!養肥了,他們是自然可以多吃;我有什麼好處,怎麼會“好了”?他們這群人,又想吃人,又是鬼鬼祟祟,想法子遮掩,不敢直截下手,真要令我笑死。我忍不住,便放聲大笑起來,十分快活。自己曉得這笑聲裏面,有的是義勇和正氣。老頭子和大哥,都失了色,被我這勇氣正氣鎮壓住了。

 

但是我有勇氣,他們便越想吃我,沾光一點這勇氣。老頭子跨出門,走不多遠,便低聲對大哥説道,“趕緊吃罷!”大哥點點頭。原來也有你!這一件大發見,雖似意外,也在意中:合夥吃我的人,便是我的哥哥!

 

吃人的是我哥哥!

 

我是吃人的人的兄弟!

 

我自己被人吃了,可仍然是吃人的人的兄弟!

 

 

 

這幾天是退一步想:假使那老頭子不是劊子手扮的,真是醫生,也仍然是吃人的人。他們的祖師李時珍做的“本草什麼”上,明明寫著人肉可以煎吃;他還能説自己不吃人麼?

 

至於我家大哥,也毫不冤枉他。他對我講書的時候,親口説過可以“易子而食”;又一回偶然議論起一個不好的人,他便説不但該殺,還當“食肉寢皮”。我那時年紀還小,心跳了好半天。前天狼子村佃戶來説吃心肝的事,他也毫不奇怪,不住的點頭。可見心思是同從前一樣狠。既然可以“易子而食”,便什麼都易得,什麼人都吃得。我從前單聽他講道理,也胡塗過去;現在曉得他講道理的時候,不但唇邊還抹著人油,而且心裡滿裝著吃人的意思。

 

 

 

黑漆漆的,不知是日是夜。趙家的狗又叫起來了。

 

獅子似的凶心,兔子的怯弱,狐狸的狡猾,……

 

 

 

我曉得他們的方法,直捷殺了,是不肯的,而且也不敢,怕有禍祟。所以他們大

家聯絡,佈滿了羅網,逼我自戕。試看前幾天街上男女的樣子,和這幾天我大哥的作為,便足可悟出八九分了。最好是解下腰帶,掛在樑上,自己緊緊勒死;他們沒有殺人的罪名,又償了心願,自然都歡天喜地的發出一種嗚嗚咽咽的笑聲。否則驚嚇憂愁死了,雖則略瘦,也還可以首肯幾下。

 

他們是只會吃死肉的!——記得什麼書上説,有一種東西,叫"海乙那"的,眼光

和樣子都很難看;時常吃死肉,連極大的骨頭,都細細嚼爛,嚥下肚子去,想起來也教人害怕。"海乙那"是狼的親眷,狼是狗的本家。前天趙家的狗,看我幾眼,可見他也同謀,早已接洽。老頭子眼看著地,豈能瞞得我過。

 

最可憐的是我的大哥,他也是人,何以毫不害怕;而且合夥吃我呢?還是歷來慣了,不以為非呢?還是喪了良心,明知故犯呢?

 

我詛咒吃人的人,先從他起頭;要勸轉吃人的人,也先從他下手。

 

 

 

其實這種道理,到了現在,他們也該早已懂得,……

 

忽然來了一個人;年紀不過二十左右,相貌是不很看得清楚,滿面笑容,對了我點頭,他的笑也不像真笑。我便問他,“吃人的事,對麼?”他仍然笑著説,“不是荒年,怎麼會吃人。”我立刻就曉得,他也是一夥,喜歡吃人的;便自勇氣百倍,偏要問他。

 

“對麼?”

 

“這等事問他什麼。你真會……説笑話。……今天天氣很好。”

 

天氣是好,月色也很亮了。可是我要問你,“對麼?”

 

他不以為然了。含含糊胡的答道,“不……”

 

“不對?他們何以竟吃?!”

 

“沒有的事……”

 

“沒有的事?狼子村現吃;還有書上都寫著,通紅斬新!”

 

他便變了臉,鐵一般青。睜著眼説,“有許有的,這是從來如此……”

 

“從來如此,便對麼?”

 

“我不同你講這些道理;總之你不該説,你説便是你錯!”

 

我直跳起來,張開眼,這人便不見了。全身出了一大片汗。他的年紀,比我大哥小得遠,居然也是一夥;這一定是他娘老子先教的。還怕已經教給他兒子了;所以連小孩子,也都惡狠狠的看我。

 

 

 

自己想吃人,又怕被別人吃了,都用著疑心極深的眼光,面面相覷。……

 

去了這心思,放心做事走路吃飯睡覺,何等舒服。這只是一條門檻,一個關頭。他們可是父子兄弟夫婦朋友師生仇敵和各不相識的人,都結成一夥,互相勸勉,互相牽掣,死也不肯跨過這一步。

 

 

 

大清早,去尋我大哥;他立在堂門外看天,我便走到他背後,攔住門,格外沉靜,格外和氣的對他説,

 

“大哥,我有話告訴你。”

 

“你説就是,”他趕緊回過臉來,點點頭。

 

“我只有幾句話,可是説不出來。大哥,大約當初野蠻的人,都吃過一點人。後來因為心思不同,有的不吃人了,一味要好,便變了人,變了真的人。有的卻還吃,——也同蟲子一樣,有的變了魚鳥猴子,一直變到人。有的不要好,至今還是蟲子。這吃人的人比不吃人的人,何等慚愧。怕比蟲子的慚愧猴子,還差得很遠很遠。

 

“易牙蒸了他兒子,給桀紂吃,還是一直從前的事。誰曉得從盤古開闢天地以後,一直吃到易牙的兒子;從易牙的兒子,一直吃到徐錫林;從徐錫林,又一直吃到狼子村捉住的人。去年城裡殺了犯人,還有一個生癆病的人,用饅頭蘸血舐。

 

“他們要吃我,你一個人,原也無法可想;然而又何必去入夥。吃人的人,什麼事做不出;他們會吃我,也會吃你,一夥裏面,也會自吃。但只要轉一步,只要立刻改了,也就是人人太平。雖然從來如此,我們今天也可以格外要好,説是不能!大哥,我相信你能説,前天佃戶要減租,你説過不能。”

 

當初,他還只是冷笑,隨後眼光便兇狠起來,一到説破他們的隱情,那就滿臉都變成青色了。大門外立著一夥人,趙貴翁和他的狗,也在裏面,都探頭探腦的挨進來。有的是看不出面貌,似乎用布蒙著;有的是仍舊青面獠牙,抿著嘴笑。我認識他們是一夥,都是吃人的人。可是也曉得他們心思很不一樣,一種是以為從來如此,應該吃的;一種是知道不該吃,可是仍然要吃,又怕別人説破他,所以聽了我的話,越發氣憤不過,可是抿著嘴冷笑。

 

這時候,大哥也忽然顯出凶相,高聲喝道,

 

“都出去!瘋子有什麼好看!”

 

這時候,我又懂得一件他們的巧妙了。他們豈但不肯改,而且早已佈置;預備下一個瘋子的名目罩上我。將來吃了,不但太平無事,怕還會有人見情。佃戶説的大家吃了一個惡人,正是這方法。這是他們的老譜!

 

陳老五也氣憤憤的直走進來。如何按得住我的口,我偏要對這夥人説,

 

“你們可以改了,從真心改起!要曉得將來容不得吃人的人,活在世上。

 

“你們要不改,自己也會吃盡。即使生得多,也會給真的人除滅了,同獵人打完狼子一樣!——同蟲子一樣!”

 

那一夥人,都被陳老五趕走了。大哥也不知那裡去了。陳老五勸我回屋子裡去。屋裡面全是黑沉沉的。橫樑和椽子都在頭上發抖;抖了一會,就大起來,堆在我身上。

 

萬分沉重,動彈不得;他的意思是要我死。我曉得他的沉重是假的,便掙紮出來,出了一身汗。可是偏要説,

 

“你們立刻改了,從真心改起!你們要曉得將來是容不得吃人的人,……”

 

 

十一

 

太陽也不出,門也不開,日日是兩頓飯。

 

我捏起筷子,便想起我大哥;曉得妹子死掉的緣故,也全在他。那時我妹子才五歲,可愛可憐的樣子,還在眼前。母親哭個不住,他卻勸母親不要哭;大約因為自己吃了,哭起來不免有點過意不去。如果還能過意不去,……

 

妹子是被大哥吃了,母親知道沒有,我可不得而知。

 

母親想也知道;不過哭的時候,卻並沒有説明,大約也以為應當的了。記得我四五歲時,坐在堂前乘涼,大哥説爺娘生病,做兒子的須割下一片肉來,煮熟了請他吃,才算好人;母親也沒有説不行。一片吃得,整個的自然也吃得。但是那天的哭法,現在想起來,實在還教人傷心,這真是奇極的事!

 

 

十二

 

不能想了。

 

四千年來時時吃人的地方,今天才明白,我也在其中混了多年;大哥正管著家務,妹子恰恰死了,他未必不和在飯菜裡,暗暗給我們吃。

 

我未必無意之中,不吃了我妹子的幾片肉,現在也輪到我自己,……

 

有了四千年吃人履歷的我,當初雖然不知道,現在明白,難見真的人!

 

 

十三

 

沒有吃過人的孩子,或者還有?

 

救救孩子……

 

一九一八年四月。