Fox Couplet: A Tale of Encounter with Enchanting Foxes

Read about Jiao Sheng's encounter with two enchanting fox spirits and his steadfast refusal to be swayed by their allure in this intriguing Chinese folklore.

Jiao Sheng is Mr. Zhangqiu Shihong’s cousin. One day, while reading in the garden, in the middle of the night, two beautiful women appeared before him, both with absolutely charming appearances. One appeared to be around seventeen or eighteen years old, and the other around fourteen or fifteen. They were touching the table while laughing. Jiao Sheng knew in his heart that they were foxes, so he put on a stern expression and refused them. The older of the two beautiful women said, “Sir, your beard is as sharp as a halberd, so why don’t you have a bit of a manly demeanor?” Jiao Sheng replied, “I have never been involved with women outside of my marriage.” The beautiful woman smiled and said, “So conservative! Are you still adhering to such conservative principles? In the mortal world, even the gods and spirits often blur the lines between right and wrong, let alone in the bedroom.” Jiao Sheng scolded them again. The beautiful women realized that this man could not be swayed, so one of them said, “Sir, you are a scholar. I have a pair of couplets for you. If you can complete the couplet, I will leave. The first line is: ‘戊戌同体, 腹中只欠一点.’ (This line plays on the visual similarity between the Chinese characters for “Wu” (戊) and “Xu” (戌), which differ only by a small dot. It subtly implies a distinction between males and females)” Jiao Sheng pondered for a long time but couldn’t come up with the second line. The beautiful woman smiled and said, “Is this the level of a scholar? Let me complete it for you: ‘己巳连踪, 足下何不双挑.'(This part relies on the resemblance between the characters for “Ji” (己) and “Si” (巳), This line carries an implicit suggestion why not engage sexually with both)” With that, she smiled and walked away. This incident was narrated by Li Sikou of Changshan.



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