Episode 37: Death By Laughing

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Today we are going to talk about a short story about death by laughing. It is from the book Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio 聊斋 志 异 , which we mentioned before. I love the book so much and we will talk more stories from it in the future.

A director of education Mr. Sun Jingxia 孙景夏from ZiChuan 淄川county said, there was a guy from his village once was almost got killed by the rebels. The guy’s head was left hanging down on his chest. His family secured the body and were going to bury it after the rebels had gone. However, hearing sounds of breathing, they checked the body and found his windpipe was not totally severed but still with a finger’s width’s skin attached. So they carefully placed his head in its proper place. After a day, he started moaning. The servants served him food with a spoon little by little and it was a miracle that after half a year he was recovered.

Nothing went wrong until some ten years afterwards. One day he was chatting with some friends. One of them made a joke everyone including our hero too clapped hands and bent back and forth with laughter. Suddenly, the seam on his neck split open down fell the head with blood splashing everywhere. His friends found that he was dead. His dad was devastated and sued the friend who made the joke. A sum of money was subscribed by everyone who presented and laughed at the joke and given the the dad who buried his son and stopped the further proceedings. The author commented at the end that it is the biggest joke that somebody’s head fell off while laughing. The guy survived for more than 10 years while dead because of a joke. Did his friends who paid for his death own him in the previous life?

Dying when laughing is not the worst way to go. But his friends presented were probably thinking what the heck?! Maybe the guy didn’t laugh for the past ten years and that his life was so miserable. Maybe the joke was really funny. Now I really want to know what the joke was about. We will never find out cause his friends probably were afraid to tell that funniest joke again.


聊斋 志 异 Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio — 诸城某甲



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