Clay Ghost: Give Me Back My Eyes

Tang Jiwu plucked glass eyes from a clay ghost at a temple. His cousin fell ill, accusing him. Family prayed, returned eyes, and ghost left. Tang Jiwu's integrity and courage noted.

When fellow countryman Tang Jiwu, who was only a few years old at the time, was brought to a temple to play by a cousin. Tang Jiwu had always been open-minded and fearless since he was a child. He saw the clay ghosts in the temple, with a pair of glassy eyes that were big and bright. He liked them very much, so he secretly used his fingers to pluck them off and put them in his pocket to take home. Just as they arrived home, the cousin suddenly fell seriously ill. At first, he didn’t say a word, but after a while, he suddenly sat up and said loudly, “Why did you pluck my eyes out!” He made a loud fuss. No one in the family knew what was going on until Tang Jiwu confessed his wrongdoing in the temple. So the whole family prayed, saying, “The child is ignorant and has accidentally harmed your eyes because of his love for playing. We will return them to you immediately.” The clay ghost then said loudly, “If that’s the case, I won’t cause any trouble. I’ll leave now.” After saying that, the cousin collapsed to the ground, unconscious. After a while, he finally woke up and asked about what he had said earlier, but he had no recollection. The family hurriedly returned to the temple and put the glass eyes back into the clay ghost’s eye sockets.

The chronicler of strange tales said: “The fact that the clay ghost actually entered the hall and demanded its glass eyes shows how extraordinary it was! However, when Tang Jiwu plucked its eyes, why did it vent its anger on Tang Jiwu’s cousin? This is because Tang Jiwu held a prestigious position and had a straightforward nature! Look at his later ability to speak candidly and dare to give advice, as well as his moral integrity in resigning from office and retiring to the southern mountains. Even the gods feared him, let alone ghosts!”

《泥鬼》

余乡唐太史济武,数岁时,有表亲某,相携戏寺中。太史童年磊落,胆即最豪,见庑中泥鬼,睁琉璃眼,甚光而巨,爱之,阴以指抉取,怀之而归。既抵家,某暴病不语,移时忽起,厉声曰:“何故抉我睛!”噪叫不休。众莫之知,太史始言所作。家人乃祝曰:“童子无知,戏伤尊目,行奉还也。”乃大言曰:“如此,我便当去。”言讫,仆地遂绝,良久而苏,问其所言,茫不自觉。乃送睛仍安鬼眶中。

异史氏曰:登堂索睛,土偶何其灵也!顾太史抉睛,而何以迁怒于同游?盖以玉堂之贵,而且至性觥觥!观其上书北阙,拂袖南山,神且惮之,而况鬼乎?

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