Bai YuYu: The Enchanting Tale of Quest for Immortality

Explore the captivating story of love, magic, and a mysterious golden bracelet that defies fire, in this enchanting Chinese folklore.

Wu Yun, with the courtesy name Qing’an, was renowned for his talent from a young age. There was a historian named Ge who often praised Wu Yun’s writings highly. He sought the help of someone acquainted with Wu Yun to invite him to his home and appreciate his conversation and demeanor. Historian Ge remarked, “How can someone as talented as Mr. Wu remain poor and humble for so long?” He then asked a neighbor to kindly convey a message to Wu Yun, saying, “If Mr. Wu can strive for success and attain an official position, I will marry my daughter to him.” At that time, Historian Ge had a daughter of extraordinary beauty. Upon hearing this, Mr. Wu was overjoyed and filled with confidence.

However, shortly afterward, he failed in the autumn examinations. He asked someone to convey a message to Historian Ge, saying, “Wealth and prosperity are destined by fate; we just don’t know whether it will come early or late. Please, Historian, wait for me for three more years. If I still don’t succeed, you can marry your daughter to someone else.” So, he became even more diligent and hardworking in his studies.

One night, under the bright moonlight, a scholar came to visit Mr. Wu. This scholar had fair skin, a short beard, a slim waist, and long fingernails. When asked where he was from, he replied, “My surname is Bai, with the courtesy name Yuyu.” Mr. Wu had a brief conversation with Bai Yuyu and immediately felt a sense of openness and warmth in his heart. He grew fond of him and invited him to stay.

At dawn, when Bai Yuyu was about to take his leave, Mr. Wu instructed him to visit often. Bai Yuyu was deeply grateful for Mr. Wu’s hospitality and offered to move in with him. They set a date for this arrangement. On the agreed-upon day, an elderly servant brought Bai Yuyu’s cooking utensils, and shortly after, Bai Yuyu arrived on a magnificent horse that seemed like a dragon.

Mr. Wu arranged a separate room for Bai Yuyu to stay in, and Bai Yuyu had his servant take care of the horse. They spent their days together in great harmony. Mr. Wu noticed that the books Bai Yuyu read were quite different from the usual ones he had seen, with no sign of the typical bureaucratic writings. This surprised him, and he asked Bai Yuyu about it. Bai Yuyu replied with a smile, “Everyone has their own aspirations, and I am not interested in officialdom.”

Every evening, Bai Yuyu would often invite Mr. Wu to drink and would also give him a scroll containing techniques related to Qi Gong. Most of the content was unfamiliar to Mr. Wu, so he considered it a lower priority and set it aside.

After a few days, Bai Yuyu said to Wu Yun, “The book I gave you the other day is an essential path to cultivate inner elixirs, seek longevity, and ultimately attain immortality.” Wu Yun smiled and replied, “What I urgently seek at this moment is not these things. Moreover, those who seek immortality must sever emotional attachments and eliminate all desires, which is something I find difficult to achieve.” Bai Yuyu asked, “Why is that?” Wu Yun explained that he needed to consider continuing his family line. Bai Yuyu inquired further, “Why have you delayed getting married for so long?” Wu Yun chuckled and said, “As the ‘Mencius’ says, ‘I have an illness, the love of beauty.’” Bai Yuyu also chuckled and added, “In ‘Mencius,’ it also says, ‘Kings should not indulge in excessive desires for common women.’ What kind of woman do you love?” Wu Yun then proceeded to recount the story of Historian Ge’s daughter being promised to him by her father. Bai Yuyu, after listening, doubted whether Historian Ge’s daughter was truly as beautiful as claimed. Wu Yun insisted, “This is a widely recognized fact, not just my own low standards of beauty.” Bai Yuyu smiled slightly and did not press the matter further.

The next day, Bai Yuyu suddenly packed his belongings to bid farewell. Wu Yun expressed his sadness and reluctance to see him go, saying countless parting words. Bai Yuyu had his servant carry the luggage ahead and, with great reluctance, he and Wu Yun bid their farewell, finding it hard to part. Suddenly, they saw a green cicada land on the desk. Bai Yuyu said his goodbyes, “My carriage and horse are ready; let’s part ways here. If you ever miss me, you can clean the bed where I slept and rest on it.” Wu Yun wanted to ask more questions, but in the blink of an eye, Bai Yuyu had transformed into a tiny figure, as small as a fingertip. He gracefully mounted the green cicada’s back, accompanied by its chirping, and disappeared into the blue sky and white clouds. It was only then that Wu Yun realized Bai Yuyu was not an ordinary person. He stood there in astonishment for a long time, feeling a sense of loss.

After a few days, the sky suddenly started pouring with a dense drizzle, intensifying Wu Yun’s longing for Bai Yuyu. He approached the bed where Bai Yuyu had slept and noticed that there were many rat droppings on it. He sighed and began to clean it, then laid down on it after placing fresh bedding. After a while, a servant from Bai Yuyu’s household came to invite him. Delighted, Wu Yun followed the servant.

Soon, they saw flocks of multicolored birds called “Tonghua Feng” flying towards them. One of Bai Yuyu’s servants caught one and said to Wu Yun, “It’s getting dark, and the road isn’t safe. We can ride this little bird for transportation.” Worried that the bird might not withstand his weight, Wu Yun asked, “Are you sure it can carry me?” The servant replied, “You’ll know once you try.” Wu Yun followed his advice and tried riding on the bird’s back, surprisingly finding it spacious and comfortable. The servant also mounted the bird’s tail, and with a sudden jerk, the Tonghua Feng bird spread its wings and soared into the sky. Before long, a red lacquered gate appeared before them. The servant disembarked first, then assisted Wu Yun. Wu Yun asked, “Where is this place?” The servant replied, “This is the Heavenly Gate.” Nearby, a giant tiger was crouched, which frightened Wu Yun greatly. The servant shielded him with his body. Wu Yun noticed that everything around him was entirely different from the human realm.

The servant led Wu Yun to the Guanghan Palace. The palace’s steps were carved from crystal, making it seem like walking on a mirror. Two towering cassia trees with crowns reaching the clouds and thick trunks stood majestically, emitting a continuous fragrance. The pavilions and towers in the palace were all painted in vermilion, and beautiful women came and went regularly. These women were exceptionally enchanting, each one peerlessly beautiful. The servant mentioned, “The beauties in the Queen Mother’s palace are even more stunning.” The servant was afraid they might be keeping their host waiting too long, so he hurriedly guided Wu Yun out of the palace.

Before long, Wu Yun saw Bai Yuyu waiting at the gate, and the two of them held hands as they entered through the grand entrance. Wu Yun noticed that under the eaves of this place, there was clear flowing water, fine white sand, and a small stream meandering. Jade-stone steps, intricately carved railings, and the overall scenery made him wonder if he had arrived in a palace on the moon. As soon as they settled down, young women came gracefully, offering fragrant tea. Soon after, Bai Yuyu had the servants bring in wine and dishes. Four beautiful women courteously bowed and, with their ornaments jingling, attended to them. Wu Yun had just started feeling a little itchy on his back when one of the beautiful women, with long fingernails, gently reached into his clothes to scratch it for him. Wu Yun couldn’t help but feel his heart flutter and his mind wander aimlessly. Soon, he began to feel a bit intoxicated and gradually lost control.

Wu Yun gazed at the beautiful women, joking with them and making them laugh, but they always responded with smiles. Bai Yuyu asked the beautiful women to sing and entertain the guests. One woman in a crimson gauzy dress held a wine cup and sang melodiously, while the others played musical instruments to accompany her, creating a beautiful harmony. After the song, a woman in emerald-green attire, while serving wine to the guests, sang a lovely tune. There was also a woman in purple and another in pale white soft gauze who playfully giggled at each other, refusing to approach the guests. Bai Yuyu asked them to each serve in their own way. The woman in purple came to pour wine. When Wu Yun reached for the cup, he discreetly scratched her jade wrist. She smiled and accidentally dropped the cup, leading to a public reprimand from Bai Yuyu. However, the woman in purple picked up the cup with a smile and whispered to Wu Yun, “Your touch felt as cold as a ghost’s hand, but you insisted on grabbing my arm.” Bai Yuyu heard this and burst into laughter, instructing her to sing and dance. After her dance, the woman in pale white gauze quickly filled Wu Yun’s cup again. Wu Yun repeatedly declined, saying he couldn’t drink anymore. However, when he saw the bashful expression on the white-clad woman’s face, he reluctantly took another sip.

With blurred vision from intoxication, Wu Yun closely observed the four beautiful women, all of whom were graceful and enchanting, unlike anyone he had ever seen on Earth. Suddenly, he said to Bai Yuyu, “In the mortal world, it would be extremely difficult to obtain even one such beauty, and yet here, they gather in abundance. Could you let me truly experience the enchanting pleasures?” Bai Yuyu smiled and asked, “Don’t you already have a beloved woman in your heart? Can you still find these women appealing?” Wu Yun replied, “Only today have I realized how limited my perspective was.” Bai Yuyu then summoned the beautiful women before Wu Yun and allowed him to choose. Wu Yun hesitated and eventually chose the woman in purple, feeling a connection from their earlier interaction. She was assigned to attend to him in the bedroom. Soon, they were on the bed, indulging in passion and intimacy. Wu Yun asked for a keepsake, and the woman in purple took off her gold bracelet and gave it to him.

At this moment, Wu Yun suddenly saw Bai Yuyu’s servant enter the room. The servant said, “The immortal realm and the mortal world are vastly different. Please leave immediately.” Upon hearing this, the woman in purple hastily got dressed and left in a hurry. Wu Yun asked about Bai Yuyu’s whereabouts, and the servant replied, “He went to the morning court session early in the morning and asked me to see you off before he left.” Wu Yun felt a sense of loss in his heart but had no choice but to follow the servant, retracing their steps along the way they had come.

As they approached the Heavenly Gate, Wu Yun glanced back at the servant but realized that the servant had disappeared at some point. The tiger lurking beside the Heavenly Gate roared and pounced as Wu Yun panicked and tried to flee. But he found himself falling into an abyss, and in his frantic state, he tumbled from the heavens. Wu Yun was suddenly awakened by the shock, and upon opening his eyes, he saw that the morning sun had already bathed half the sky in red light.

He was just about to get up and put on his clothes when something gently slid onto the bedding. When he picked it up, he found it to be the same gold bracelet that the woman in purple had given him in his dream. This left him even more puzzled. From then on, Wu Yun’s pursuit of fame and his passion for Historian Ge’s daughter gradually cooled. He often thought of leaving home to search for immortality but worried about the family’s lack of heirs.

After more than ten months had passed, one day, Wu Yun was fast asleep during the daytime. In his dream, the woman in the purple gown from the heavens entered, cradling a baby in her arms. She said, “This child is your own flesh and blood. Heaven cannot raise him, so I’ve brought him to you.” She placed the baby on Wu Yun’s bed, covered the infant with a piece of clothing, and hurried to leave. Wu Yun tried to stop her, desiring intimacy, but the woman in purple gown replied, “Our last encounter was our farewell; this time is our eternal parting. Our marriage in this lifetime has come to an end. If you still have feelings for me, perhaps we may meet again in the future.” Wu Yun woke up and saw a baby sleeping beside him in the swaddling clothes. He quickly picked up the baby and went to see his mother.

His mother was delighted to see the baby and hired a wet nurse to feed him. She named the child “Mengxian.”

Wu Yun then entrusted someone to deliver a message to Historian Ge, stating that he intended to leave worldly life and live in seclusion. He requested Historian Ge to find another suitable husband for his daughter. Historian Ge disagreed with this, but Wu Yun was adamant about breaking off the engagement. Historian Ge had no choice but to convey Wu Yun’s intentions to his daughter.

Historian Ge’s daughter responded, “People near and far are aware that you have already been promised to me for life. Now, if you want to change your decision, it’s as if I am getting married again.” Historian Ge relayed his daughter’s words to Wu Yun, who explained, “The reason I am breaking off the marriage is that I no longer desire fame and wealth, and I have lost interest in matters of matrimony. The only reason I haven’t immediately retreated to the mountains to live in seclusion is that my elderly mother is still alive.”

Historian Ge discussed with his daughter again, and she said, “Even if Wu Lang’s family is poor, I am willing to live a humble life with him. If Wu Lang were to leave home, I would rather serve his parents. I will never marry someone else.” Thus, after several rounds of messages back and forth without reaching an agreement, Historian Ge chose an auspicious day, prepared the bridal carriage and dowry, and sent his daughter to marry Wu Yun.

Wu Yun was deeply moved by Historian Ge’s daughter’s virtuous qualities and held great respect and love for her. She was devoted and filial in serving her mother-in-law, surpassing the expectations of a woman from a humble background.

After two years, Wu Yun’s mother passed away, and Historian Ge’s daughter used her dowry to purchase a coffin for her mother-in-law, ensuring every detail was meticulously attended to. Wu Yun said, “With a wife like you, what else do I have to worry about? I hope that one day, one of us will attain enlightenment, and our entire family can ascend to become immortals. That’s why I must leave home and entrust everything to you.”

Historian Ge’s daughter listened calmly to his words and did not try to stop him in the slightest. Thus, Wu Yun departed from home on a long journey.

After Wu Yun’s departure, Historian Ge’s daughter efficiently managed household affairs and livelihoods, while also providing guidance and education to orphaned children. She maintained a well-organized household inside and out. Wu Mengxian, gradually growing up, displayed exceptional intelligence and was regarded as a prodigy. At the age of fourteen, he passed the imperial examination for the position of a government scholar (举人). At fifteen, he achieved the highest rank in the imperial examination and became a successful candidate for the position of a government official (进士), gaining entry into the Hanlin Academy (翰林院).

Whenever the imperial court granted titles to his mother, they only recognized her as “Madam Ge” because they were unaware of his biological mother’s name. One day, during an ancestral worship ritual, Wu Mengxian began to think of his biological father. He asked his mother, Madam Ge, where his father had gone. She candidly explained his father’s circumstances. Wu Mengxian expressed his desire to resign from his official position to search for his father. Madam Ge remarked, “Your father has been on a spiritual journey for over a decade, and he is likely to have become an immortal, traveling far and wide. How can you find him?”

Later, Wu Mengxian received an imperial order to perform ancestral worship at Mount Hengshan in Hunan. On his way, he encountered a group of bandits. In a moment of great peril, a Daoist priest wielding a sword came to his rescue, defeating the bandits and rescuing Wu Mengxian. He was immensely grateful to the Daoist priest and offered him gold and silver as a token of appreciation. However, the Daoist priest declined the reward and handed over a letter to Wu Mengxian, saying, “I have an old friend from the same hometown as you. Please convey my regards to him.” Wu Mengxian asked, “What is your friend’s name?” The Daoist replied, “His name is Wang Lin.” Wu Mengxian tried to recall if anyone in his village had that name but couldn’t remember. The Daoist priest added, “He is an inconspicuous person of lowly status, and as a distinguished official, you might not know him.”

Before departing, the Daoist priest gave Wu Mengxian a golden bracelet, saying, “This is a woman’s accessory typically found in a boudoir. Since I have no use for it, please accept it as a gift.” Wu Mengxian accepted it and put it in his pocket, intending to give it to his wife. His wife greatly cherished the bracelet and asked a skilled jeweler to replicate it, but the replica could never match the intricacy of the original one.

Wu Mengxian returned to his village and inquired everywhere, but there was no one named Wang Lin in the village. He secretly opened the letter and found it written inside: “Three years of loving marriage, now separated. Thanks to your virtuousness, I could bury my mother and educate our young son. I have no way to repay your kindness, so I’m sending you a pill. Split it open and consume it, and you will become immortal.” It ended with “Deliver to Madam Lin’s dressing table left and right.” Wu Mengxian, after reading it, remained puzzled, not knowing who the letter was meant for. He decided to consult his mother, Madam Ge, about the letter.

When his mother saw the letter, she couldn’t hold back her tears and choked up as she said, “This is a letter from your father! Lin is my nickname.” It was at that moment that Wu Mengxian finally understood that “Wang Lin” was a riddle. He realized that he had missed the chance to reunite with his father, and deep regret filled his heart. He showed his mother, Madam Ge, the golden bracelet from the letter, and she said, “This is a keepsake from your biological mother. When your father was still with us, he showed it to me.”

Wu Mengxian also examined the pill mentioned in the letter, which was the size of a soybean. He happily exclaimed, “My father is an immortal, and if you consume this, you’ll surely attain immortality!” However, Madam Ge didn’t immediately take the pill; instead, she carefully preserved it.

One day, Historian Ge came to visit his grandson, Wu Mengxian. Madam Ge read Wu Yun’s letter to him and offered the longevity pill to her father. She hoped that it would grant her father a long life. Historian Ge accepted the pill and split it into two halves, with each of them taking one. As soon as they swallowed the pill, both Madam Ge and her father felt rejuvenated. Historian Ge, who was already in his seventies and had an aged appearance, suddenly sensed newfound vitality surging through his muscles, bones, and flesh. He abandoned his sedan chair and began walking. Astonishingly, he moved with the speed of the wind, leaving his family members breathless as they struggled to keep up with him.

In the second year, a massive fire broke out in the city, and it raged on throughout the day without being extinguished. The entire family dared not sleep at night, gathering in the courtyard. The fire grew increasingly fierce, and it seemed it would soon reach the neighboring houses. Wu Mengxian’s family was in a state of panic, unsure of what to do. Suddenly, the golden bracelet on Madam Wu’s arm, with a clinking sound, detached from her wrist and flew away. All the family members followed the direction of the flying bracelet and saw that it expanded to cover several acres, encircling the Wu residence like a halo, with its opening facing the southeast. Everyone witnessed this phenomenon clearly, and they were all astounded.

Soon, the fire approached from the west, but when it reached the boundary of the golden bracelet, it veered away diagonally towards the east. As the fire receded into the distance, people believed that the golden bracelet would never return. However, suddenly, a red light flashed, and the bracelet fell with a clang at Madam Wu’s feet. During this fire, tens of thousands of homes in the city were reduced to ashes, yet the Wu family’s surroundings remained untouched. Only a small loft to the southeast of their residence was destroyed, which was the area not covered by the golden bracelet.

When Madam Ge reached her fifties, some people claimed to have seen her looking as young and beautiful as someone in her twenties.

《白于玉》

吴青庵,筠,少知名。葛太史见其文,每嘉叹之。托相善者邀至其家,领其言论风采。曰:“焉有才如吴生,而长贫贱者乎?”因俾邻好致之曰:“使青庵奋志云霄,当以息女奉巾栉。”时太史有女绝美。生闻大喜,确自信。既而秋闱被黜,使人谓太史:“富贵所固有,不可知者迟早耳。请待我三年不成而后嫁。”于是刻志益苦。

一夜,月明之下,有秀才造谒,白皙短须,细腰长爪。诘所来,自言:“白氏,字于玉。”略与倾谈,豁人心胸,悦之,留同止宿。迟明欲去,生嘱便道频过。白感其情殷,愿即假馆,约期而别。至日,先一苍头送炊具来,少间,白至,乘骏马如龙。生另舍舍之,白命奴牵马去。遂共晨夕,忻然相得。生视所读书,并非常所见闻,亦绝无时艺,讶而问之。白笑曰:“士各有志,仆非功名中人也。”夜每招生饮,出一卷授生,皆吐纳之术,多所不解,因以迂缓置之。

他日,谓生曰:“曩所授,乃《黄庭》之要道,仙人之梯航。”生笑曰:“仆所急不在此。且求仙者必断绝情缘,使万念俱寂,仆病未能也。”白问:“何故?”生以宗嗣为虑。白曰:“胡久不娶?”笑曰:“‘寡人有疾,寡人好色。’”白亦笑曰:“‘王请无好小色’。所好何如?”生具以情告。白疑未必真美,生曰:“此遐迩所共闻,非小生之目贱也。”白微哂而罢。次日,忽促装言别。生凄然与语,刺刺不能休,白乃命童子先负装行,两相依恋。俄见一青蝉鸣落案间,白辞曰:“舆已驾矣,请自此别。如相忆,拂我榻而卧之。”方欲再问,转瞬间,白小如指,翩然跨蝉背上,嘲哳而飞,杳入云中。生乃知其非常人,错愕良久,怅怅自失。

逾数日,细雨忽集,思白綦切。视所卧榻,鼠迹碎琐,嘅然扫除,设席即寝。无何,见白家童来相招,忻然从之。俄有桐凤翔集,童捉谓生曰:“黑径难行,可乘此代步。”生虑细小不能胜任,童曰:“试乘之。”生如所请,宽然殊有馀地,童亦附其尾上,戛然一声,凌升空际。未几,见一朱门,童先下,扶生亦下。问:“此何所?”曰:“此天门也。”门边有巨虎蹲伏。生骇惧,童一身障之。见处处风景,与世殊异。童导入广寒宫,内以水晶为阶,行人如在镜中。桂树两章,参空合抱,花气随风,香无断际。亭宇皆红窗,时有美人出入,冶容秀骨,旷世并无其俦。童言:“王母宫佳丽尤胜。”然恐主人伺久,不暇留连,导与趋出。

移时,见白生候于门,握手入。见檐外清水白沙,涓涓流溢,玉砌雕阑,殆疑桂阙。甫坐,即有二八妖鬟,来荐香茗。少间,命酌。有四丽人,敛衽鸣珰,给事左右。才觉背上微痒,丽人即纤指长甲,探衣代搔。生觉心神摇曳,罔所安顿。既而微醺,渐不自持。笑顾丽人,兜搭与语,美人辄笑避。白令度曲侑觞。一衣绛绡者,引爵向客,便即筵前,宛转清歌。诸丽者笙管敖曹,呜呜杂和。既阕,一衣翠裳者,亦酌亦歌。尚有一紫衣人,与一淡白软绡者,吃吃笑,暗中互让不肯前。白令一酌一唱。紫衣人便来把盏。生托接杯,戏挠纤腕,女笑失手,酒杯倾堕。白谯诃之。女拾杯含笑,俯首细语云:“冷如鬼手馨,强来捉人臂。”白大笑,罚令自歌且舞。舞已,衣淡白者又飞一觥。生辞不能釂,女捧酒有愧色,乃强饮之。细视四女,风致翩翩,无一非绝世者。遽谓主人曰:“人间尤物,仆求一而难之,君集群芳,能令我真个销魂否?”白笑曰:“足下意中自有佳人,此何足当巨眼之顾?”生曰:“吾今乃知所见之不广也。”白乃尽招诸女,俾自择,生颠倒不能自决。白以紫衣人有把臂之好,遂使襆被奉客。既而衾枕之爱,极尽绸缪。生索赠,女脱金腕钏付之。

忽童入曰:“仙凡路殊,君宜即去。”女急起遁去。生问主人,童曰:“早诣待漏,去时嘱送客耳。”生怅然从之,复寻旧途。将及门,回视童子,不知何时已去。虎哮骤起,生惊窜而去。望之无底,而足已奔堕。一惊而寤,则朝暾已红。方将振衣,有物腻然堕褥间,视之,钏也。心益异之。由是前念灰冷,每欲寻赤松游,而尚以胤续为忧。

过十馀月,昼寝方酣,梦紫衣姬自外至,怀中绷婴儿曰:“此君骨肉。天上难留此物,敬持送君。”乃寝诸床,牵衣覆之,匆匆欲去。生强与为欢,乃曰:“前一度为合卺,今一度为永诀,百年夫妇,尽于此矣。君倘有志,或有见期。”生醒,见婴儿卧襆褥间,绷以告母。母喜,佣媪哺之,取名梦仙。

生于是使人告太史,身己将隐,令别择良匹。太史不肯,生固以为辞。太史告女,女曰:“远近无不知儿身许吴郎矣,今改之,是二天也。”因以此意告生。生曰:“我不但无志于功名,兼绝情于燕好。所以不即入山者,徒以有老母在。”太史又以商女,女曰:“吴郎贫,我甘其藜藿;吴郎去,我事其姑嫜。定不他适。”使人三四返,迄无成谋,遂诹日备车马妆奁,嫔于生家。生感其贤,敬爱臻至。女事姑孝,曲意承顺,过贫家女。逾二年,母亡,女质奁作具,罔不尽礼。生曰:“得卿如此,吾何忧!顾念一人得道,拔宅飞升。余将远逝,一切付之于卿。”女坦然,殊不挽留,生遂去。

女外理生计,内训孤儿,井井有法。梦仙渐长,聪慧绝伦。十四岁,以神童领乡荐,十五入翰林。每褒封,不知母姓氏,封葛母一人而已。值霜露之辰,辄问父所,母具告之,遂欲弃官往寻。母曰:“汝父出家,今已十有馀年,想已仙去,何处可寻?”后奉旨祭南岳,中途遇寇。窘急中,一道人仗剑入,寇尽披靡,围始解。德之,馈以金,不受。出书一函,付嘱曰:“余有故人,与大人同里,烦一致寒暄。”问:“何姓名?”答曰:“王林。”因忆村中无此名,道士曰:“草野微贱,贵官自不识耳。”临行,出一金钏曰:“此闺阁物,道人拾此,无所用处,即以奉报。”视之,嵌镂精绝,怀归以授夫人。夫人爱之,命良工依式配造,终不及其精巧。

遍问村中,并无王林其人者。私发其函,上云:“三年鸾凤,分拆各天。葬母教子,端赖卿贤。无以报德,奉药一丸。剖而食之,可以成仙。”后书“琳娘夫人妆次”。读毕,不解何人,持以告母。母执书以泣,曰:“此汝父家报也。琳,我小字。”始恍然悟“王林”为拆白谜也,悔恨不已。又以钏示母,母曰:“此汝母遗物。而翁在家时,尝以相示。”又视丸,如豆大。喜曰:“我父仙人,啖此必能长生。”母不遽吞,受而藏之。会葛太史来视甥,女诵吴生书,便进丹药为寿。太史剖而分食之。顷刻,精神焕发。太史时年七旬,龙钟颇甚,忽觉筋力溢于肤革,遂弃舆而步,其行健速,家人坌息始能及焉。

逾年,都城有回禄之灾,火终日不熄。夜不敢寐,毕集庭中。见火势拉杂,寖及邻舍。一家徊徨,不知所计。忽夫人臂上金钏,戛然有声,脱臂飞去。望之,大可数亩,团覆宅上,形如月阑,钏口降东南隅,历历可见。众大愕。俄顷,火自西来,近阑则斜越而东。迨火势既远,窃意钏亡不可复得,忽见红光乍敛,钏铮然堕足下。都中延烧民舍数万间,左右前后,并为灰烬,独吴第无恙,惟东南一小阁,化为乌有,即钏口漏覆处也。葛母年五十馀,或见之,犹似二十许人。

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