The Dog Lamp: A Tale of Transformation and Farewell

Explore the enchanting Chinese legend of 'The Dog Lamp' where a servant's encounter with a mysterious woman leads to a journey of transformation and an unexpected farewell amidst lush sorghum fields.

The servant of Han Daqian, the main clerk of Guanglu Temple, slept in the corridor at night and saw a light upstairs shining like a bright star. After a while, the light floated down from upstairs, blinking and sparkling. When the light landed on the ground, it transformed into a dog. The servant secretly glanced at it, and the dog turned and ran behind the house. The servant quickly got up and followed it stealthily. The dog entered the garden and transformed into a woman. The servant knew in his heart that she was a fox, so he quietly returned to his room and lay down.

After a while, the woman also came from behind, and the servant pretended to be asleep while secretly observing her movements. The woman bent over him and vigorously shook him. The servant pretended to wake up and asked who she was, but the woman didn’t answer. The servant said, “The light upstairs, wasn’t it you?” The woman replied, “Since you already know, why bother asking again?” So, them sleep together, make love insanely, indulging in pleasure day and night, and it became a common occurrence.

Master Han Daqian finally learned about this matter. He sent two servants to sleep with him, sandwiching him in between. In the morning, the two servants woke up, only to find themselves lying under the bed, not knowing when they had fallen from the bed. The master, even more furious, said to the servants, “When that woman comes again, you must capture her and bring her here. Otherwise, you will be whipped.” The servants dared not argue and could only agree before leaving.

The servants thought to themselves that capturing her would be difficult, but not doing so would surely result in punishment. As they pondered their predicament, they suddenly remembered that the woman had a small red shirt, always worn close to her body and never taken off. This must be her vulnerability, and obtaining it could be used to compel her to comply.

In the evening, the woman arrived and asked him, “Did your master send you to capture me?” The servant replied, “There is such a thing, but the two of us have a deep bond. How can I do such a thing?” When it was time to sleep, the servant attempted to secretly remove the woman’s small red shirt. In her desperation, the woman cried out, broke free, and never came again.

Later, when this servant returned from elsewhere, he saw the woman sitting by the roadside from a distance. When the servant approached her, she covered her face with her sleeve. The servant dismounted and loudly asked, “Why are you behaving like this?” The woman then stood up, held his hand, and said, “I thought you had long forgotten our past affection. Now it seems you still remember our old love, and I can forgive your past actions. I know you were compelled by your master’s pressure, and there was no way around it. I no longer blame you. It’s clear that our fate has come to an end, so today I have prepared a small feast for you as a farewell. Please join me at the table.”

At that time, it was early autumn, and the sorghum in the fields was very lush. The woman held his hand and led him into the sorghum fields, and the servant soon saw a large mansion in the midst of the sorghum fields. He tied his horse and entered the courtyard, where the banquet hall was already set. As they sat down, a group of maids came to serve dishes and pour wine. The sun was about to set, and the servant needed to return to his master for some business. He bid farewell to the woman. After he left, the house, maids, and banquet all disappeared, leaving nothing but clearly delineated rows of sorghum fields.

《犬灯》

韩光禄大千之仆,夜宿厦间,见楼上有灯,如明星。未几,荧荧飘落,及地化为犬。睨之,转舍后去。急起,潜尾之。入园中,化为女子。心知其狐,还卧故所。俄,女子自后来,仆阳寐以观其变。女俯而撼之,仆伪作醒状,问其为谁,女不答。仆曰:“楼上灯光,非子也耶?”女曰:“既知之,何问焉?”遂共宿止,昼别宵会,以为常。

主人知之,使二人夹仆卧。二人既醒,则身卧床下,亦不知堕自何时。主人益怒,谓仆曰:“来时,当捉之来。不然,则有鞭楚!”仆不敢言,诺而退。因念:捉之难,不捉,惧罪。展转无策。忽忆女子一小红衫,密着其体,未肯暂脱,必其要害,执此可以胁之。夜分,女至,问:“主人嘱汝捉我乎?”曰:“良有之。但我两人情好,何肯此为?”及寝,阴掬其衫。女急啼,力脱而去。从此遂绝。

后仆自他方归,遥见女子坐道周。至前,则举袖障面。仆下骑,呼曰:“何作此态?”女乃起,握手曰:“我谓子已忘旧好矣。既恋恋有故人意,情尚可原。前事出于主命,亦不汝怪也。但缘分已尽,今设小酌,请入为别。”时秋初,高粱正茂。女携与俱入,则中有巨第。系马而入,厅堂中酒肴已列。甫坐,群婢行炙。日将暮,仆有事,欲覆主命,遂别。既出,则依然田陇耳。

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