Explore the enchanting story of Hu Sijie, an immortal, and her encounters with Shangsheng, filled with love, magic, and the mysteries of the supernatural.
Once there was a scholar named Shang, a native of Mount Tai. He lived alone in a simple study room. One autumn night, under the bright Milky Way and the high-hanging moon, Shang strolled among the flowers and trees, lost in thought. Suddenly, a woman appeared, flipping over the wall, and with a smile, she said, “Why is the scholar so lost in thought?” Shang approached to take a closer look, only to find that she was a beauty like a celestial being. He was both surprised and delighted, embracing her and taking her into his study, where they affectionately spent some time together. The woman introduced herself, saying, “My surname is Hu, and they call me Sanjie.” When Shang asked her where she lived, she simply smiled and did not answer. Shang did not press further, only hoping to be with her forever. From that day on, the woman came to meet him every night.
One night, Sanjie and Shangsheng sat knee-to-knee under the lamp. Shangsheng had feelings for Sanjie, and he couldn’t help but gaze at her intently. Sanjie smiled and asked, “Why are you staring at me like a tiger?” Shangsheng replied, “I look at you, and you are as captivating as the red peonies and the green peach blossoms. Even if I gaze at you all night, it’s not enough.” Sanjie said, “I’m so ugly, yet you hold me in such high regard. If you were to see my fourth sister, I wonder how you would react.” This stirred Shangsheng’s heart even more, and he begged to meet her. After one night, Sanjie indeed brought her fourth sister along. The fourth sister was just fifteen or sixteen, with a face as fresh and tender as morning dew on a lotus flower, and as alluring as a delicate apricot in the mist. She smiled sweetly, radiating infinite charm and beauty. Shangsheng couldn’t contain his joy and quickly invited them to sit down. While Sanjie and Shangsheng conversed and laughed, the fourth sister kept her head down, playing with her embroidered ribbon. After a while, Sanjie stood up to leave, and the fourth sister intended to follow. Shangsheng held onto the fourth sister, not wanting her to leave, and said to Sanjie, “Please persuade her to stay!” Sanjie laughed and said, “My dear, you’re so eager! Sister, stay a little longer.” The fourth sister didn’t say anything, so Sanjie left first. Shangsheng and the fourth sister enjoyed each other’s company. They held each other’s arms, pouring out their life stories with no secrets left untold. The fourth sister revealed that she was a fox, but Shangsheng was so enamored by her beauty that he wasn’t surprised. The fourth sister then said, “My sister is ruthless and has already caused the deaths of three people. When she ensnares someone, there’s no escape from death. I’m lucky to be so cherished by you, and I can’t bear to see you meet the same fate. We should sever our ties with her as soon as possible.” Shangsheng was afraid and asked for a solution. The fourth sister said, “Although I’m a fox, I’ve acquired the spells of an immortal. I can put up a talisman at your bedroom door to prevent her from entering.” So, she wrote a talisman. The next morning, Sanjie arrived, but seeing the talisman, she dared not enter. She said, “This girl is unfaithful, captivated by the new groom, and forgets the matchmaker. You two have your fate, and I won’t stand in your way. But why do it this way?” With that, she left.
A few days later, the fourth sister had some business elsewhere and agreed to return in another night. On that day, Shangsheng happened to go out for a walk. At the foot of the mountain, there was a dense grove of oak trees, and from within the thick woods emerged a young woman with great charm. She approached Shangsheng and said, “Why does the scholar need to be infatuated with the Hu sisters and be self-satisfied? They can’t provide you with a substantial income.” With that, she took out a string of coins and gave them to Shangsheng, saying, “Take these first, buy some good wine. I’ll bring some snacks later, and we can enjoy ourselves.” Shangsheng took the money and went home, following the instructions of the young woman.
Before long, the young woman arrived as promised. She placed a roasted chicken and a salted pig’s elbow on a small table, then carefully cut them into small pieces. They drank wine and joked, having a very joyful and harmonious time. Later, they extinguished the lamp, and both of them got into bed, passionately intimate and unrestrained. They only got up after daybreak. Just as the young woman was sitting at the bedside putting on her shoes, they suddenly heard voices. Listening closely, they realized someone had entered the curtain. It turned out to be the Hu sisters.
The young woman panicked and fled, leaving her shoes behind on the bed. The Hu sisters scolded her back, “Sly fox! How dare you sleep with someone!” They chased after her, and it took some time for them to return. The fourth sister reproached Shangsheng, saying, “You are really hopeless, getting involved with a sly fox like her. We can’t get close to you anymore.” With that, she angrily prepared to leave. Shangsheng, frightened, knelt down and earnestly pleaded with her not to be angry. The third sister also intervened, and the fourth sister’s anger gradually subsided. They continued their relationships as before.
One day, a man from Shaanxi arrived at Shang’s doorstep, riding on a donkey. He said, “I’ve been searching for this demon everywhere, not for a short time, and now I’ve finally found it.” Shangsheng’s father, seeing the stranger’s strange speech, inquired about the situation. The man said, “I roam between mountains and rivers every day, traveling far and wide, spending eight or nine months a year away from my hometown. As a result, my brother was deceived and killed by the demon. I returned home with great sorrow and anger, vowing to find the demon and kill it. I’ve traveled thousands of miles and still haven’t found a trace, and now the demon is in your home. If it’s not eliminated, someone else will suffer the same fate as my brother.” At that time, Shangsheng was intimately involved with the woman, and his parents had some suspicions. Upon hearing the guest’s words, they were very frightened and immediately invited him in, begging him to use his magic.
The guest took out two bottles and placed them on the ground. Then he drew symbols and chanted spells. After a while, four black clouds appeared and were separated into the bottles. The guest said happily, “The whole family is here.” He then sealed the bottles tightly with pig bladder. Shangsheng’s father was also delighted and insisted on treating the guest to a meal. Shangsheng felt very uneasy and approached the bottles to sneak a look. He heard the fourth sister inside the bottle saying, “You watched without saving us, how could you be so heartless?” Shangsheng felt even more upset and hurriedly tried to unseal the bottles, but they were tightly sealed and couldn’t be opened. The fourth sister said again, “There’s no need to unseal it. Just place the command flag on the altar and use a needle to puncture the pig bladder, and I’ll be able to come out.” Shangsheng followed the fourth sister’s instructions, and sure enough, a wisp of white smoke emerged from the hole and rose into the sky.
When the guest came out and saw the command flag on the ground, he was shocked and said, “It escaped! It must have been the young master’s doing.” He bent down and shook the bottle, listened, and said, “Fortunately, only one escaped. This creature shouldn’t be killed; we can spare it.” He then carried the bottles and took his leave.
One day, later on, Shangsheng was inspecting the field, overseeing the workers harvesting wheat. From a distance, he saw the fourth sister sitting under a tree. Shangsheng walked over, held her hand, and greeted her. The fourth sister said, “Many years have passed since we last met, and now I have become an immortal. Because my heart still holds some lingering thoughts for you, I’ve come to visit you once again.” Shangsheng wanted to bring the fourth sister home with him, but she said, “I have changed and can no longer be entangled in worldly emotions. We will meet again in the future.” After saying this, she disappeared.
More than twenty years later, Shangsheng was alone in his house when he saw the fourth sister enter from outside. Shangsheng joyfully approached her to talk. The fourth sister said, “I am now among the ranks of immortals, and I should not have returned to the mortal world. However, I want to thank you for your affection and have come to inform you of your impending death. You can make preparations for the afterlife, and you need not grieve or be sad. I will guide you to become a spirit immortal, and there will be no suffering.” After saying this, she bid farewell and departed. On the day the fourth sister had mentioned, Shangsheng indeed passed away.
Shangsheng is a relative and close friend of my friend Li Wenyu. He personally witnessed this incident.