The Fox Concubine: Marrying a Fox Spirit with Magical Abilities

Explore the intriguing tale of Liu Dongjiu and his enigmatic fox companion, as they navigate supernatural events, disasters, and a bond that transcends the ordinary.

In Laiwu, there were nine people in Liu Dong’s mansion, and he served as the supervisor of the grain hall in Fenzhou. One day, while he was sitting alone in the yamen, he suddenly heard joyful laughter coming closer from outside the courtyard. Before long, four women entered, one in her forties, one in her thirties, one in her mid-twenties, and a young girl. They stood side by side in front of a table, giggling and looking at each other. Liu Dong knew well that there were many fox spirits in the yamen, so he paid them no attention. After a while, the young girl took out a red silk scarf and mischievously threw it onto Liu Dong’s face. Liu Dong picked up the scarf and tossed it onto the windowsill, still not looking at them. The four women chuckled and then left.

One day, the woman in her forties who had visited before came again. She said to Liu Dongjiu, “My sister has a fate with you, I hope you won’t abandon her.” Liu Dongjiu casually agreed. Shortly after the woman left, she returned with a maid, bringing along the young girl with flowing hair from earlier. She had the young girl sit next to Liu Dongjiu and said, “You two make a perfect couple, tonight is the bridal chamber candlelit night. Take good care of Liu Lang, I’ll leave now.”

Liu Dongjiu carefully examined the young girl and indeed found her extraordinarily beautiful, radiant and captivating. Consequently, he became intimate with her. Later on, Liu Dongjiu asked the young girl where she came from, and she replied, “I am not truly human, yet in a way, I am. I am the daughter of the former magistrate. I died suddenly under the enchantment of a fox spirit, and after my death, I was buried in the courtyard. The fox spirits then used their magic to resurrect me, so my actions and demeanor now resemble that of a fox spirit.”

Liu Dongjiu listened and reached out to touch the girl’s buttocks. The girl noticed and said with a smile, “Do you think all foxes should have tails?” Then she turned around and said, “Well, go ahead and touch it.” From then on, the girl stayed at the yamen and never left. Her daily life, sitting, and resting were all accompanied by that little maid. Liu Dongjiu’s family members all respected her as the young lady and showed her great courtesy. Every time the maids and servants greeted her, they received particularly generous rewards.

One day, it was Liu Dongjiu’s birthday, and many guests came to offer their congratulations. They needed to set up over thirty tables for the banquet, which required a large number of chefs. Although Liu Dongjiu had already sent out official orders to summon them, only a few arrived when the time came, which greatly angered Liu Dongjiu.

Upon hearing this, the fox spirit advised him, saying, “Don’t worry. Since there aren’t enough chefs, why not send away the few who did come? Although my culinary skills are limited, I can easily prepare the banquet for thirty tables.” Liu Dongjiu was delighted with the suggestion and had the fish, meat, green onions, ginger, and other ingredients moved to the inner courtyard. The household members heard the continuous sounds of chopping and slicing but couldn’t see how she was doing it.

The fox spirit had a table set up by the door, and the serving staff placed empty plates on it. In the blink of an eye, the plates were filled with dishes. This way, the servants kept taking away empty plates and bringing back more, with over a dozen people serving, and it seemed endless. Finally, when it was time to serve soup cakes, the fox spirit said from inside, “The master didn’t specify making soup cakes in advance, so how can we just make them?” After a while, she added, “It’s okay, let’s go borrow some.”

Soon, the fox spirit called the servants serving dishes to get the soup cakes. When they looked, there were over thirty bowls of soup cakes on the table, steaming hot. After the guests left, the fox spirit told Liu Dongjiu, “You can take some money and go pay for the soup cakes from a certain place.” Liu Dongjiu sent someone to deliver the money for the soup cakes, and the people at the shop were puzzled as they gathered, wondering about the sudden payment from the Liu family. The mystery was only solved when the person arrived with the money.

One evening, while Liu Dongjiu was enjoying a drink, he suddenly craved Shandong’s bitter Lu wine. The fox spirit said, “I’ll get it for you right away,” and left. After a while, she returned and said, “There’s a jar of bitter Lu wine outside, enough for you to enjoy for several days.” Liu Dongjiu went outside to check, and indeed, there was a jar of wine. When he opened it, it turned out to be the famous hometown wine, Wengtou Chun.

A few days later, Liu Dongjiu’s wife sent two servants to Fenzhou. On the way, one of the servants said, “I’ve heard that the fox lady gives exceptionally generous rewards. I hope we can earn enough money this time to buy a fur coat.” These words were known to the fox spirit in the yamen long before. She said to Liu Dongjiu, “The folks from our hometown are about to arrive. That insolent servant deserves some retaliation.”

The next day, as the servant entered Fenzhou, he suddenly suffered from a severe headache. When he arrived at the yamen, he was screaming in pain while holding his head. The household members wanted to give him some medicine to ease the pain, but Liu Dongjiu smiled and said, “There’s no need to treat his illness; it will naturally get better with time.” Everyone suspected that he might have offended the young mistress, and the servant himself wondered how he had committed such a fault when he had just arrived and hadn’t even unpacked. When he met the fox spirit, he felt that he had not made any mistakes, so he knelt down on the ground and pleaded outside the curtain. Someone from behind the curtain said, “You addressed me as ‘wife,’ which was fine. Why did you add the word ‘fox’?” The servant finally understood what was happening and kept bowing his head in apology.

The fox spirit then said, “Since you want a fur coat, why were you so disrespectful?” After a moment, she added, “Your illness is gone.” As soon as she finished speaking, the servant’s headache disappeared. After bidding farewell, as the servant was about to leave, a small package was thrown from behind the curtain. The fox spirit said, “This is a lamb fur coat; you can take it.” When the servant opened it, he found five taels of silver inside.

Liu Dongjiu asked the servant about the situation at home, and he said everything was fine, except that one night they lost a jar of wine. Liu Dongjiu verified the date and time of the lost wine, and it was the same night when the fox spirit had brought the Wengtou Chun wine. From then on, the household members held great reverence for her, referring to her as the “Holy Immortal.” Liu Dongjiu even had a portrait of her painted.

At that time, Zhang Dao Yi held the position of a prefectural governor. Hearing of the extraordinary nature of the fox spirit, he came to Liu Dongjiu’s residence under the pretext of being a fellow townsman, hoping to meet the fox spirit. However, the fox spirit refused to see him. Liu Dongjiu showed him the portrait of the fox spirit, but Zhang Dao Yi insisted on taking the portrait back with him.

After returning home, Zhang Dao Yi hung the fox spirit’s portrait by his side and prayed to it every morning and evening, saying, “With your beauty, why would you choose to be with that old man with a white beard? I am not inferior to Liu Dongjiu in any way. Why won’t you visit me even once?” The fox spirit was in the yamen when she suddenly said to Liu Dongjiu, “That Mr. Zhang is too disrespectful; I think I should give him a slight punishment.”

One day, as Zhang Dao Yi prayed to the portrait again, he suddenly felt as if someone had struck his forehead with a ruler, causing an excruciating headache. Zhang Dao Yi was greatly frightened and immediately sent someone to return the portrait of the fox spirit. Liu Dongjiu questioned Zhang Dao Yi’s household as to why they had returned the portrait, and they tried to hide the truth with a vague response. Liu Dongjiu chuckled and asked, “Is your master’s forehead hurting?” Zhang Dao Yi’s household couldn’t keep the secret any longer and finally revealed the truth to Liu Dongjiu.

Not long after, Liu Dongjiu’s son-in-law, Qi Sheng, also wished to meet the fox spirit. However, the fox spirit steadfastly refused. Qi Sheng persisted and sought the meeting again. Liu Dongjiu advised the fox spirit, saying, “He is your son-in-law, not a stranger. Why do you refuse to see him?” The fox spirit replied, “If my son-in-law comes to visit, I must have a gift to present. His expectations of me are too high, and I believe I cannot meet them, which is why I am reluctant to see him. Since he insists on the meeting, I will agree to see him ten days from now.”

Ten days later, Qi Sheng arrived at the fox spirit’s room. He bowed and greeted the fox spirit through a curtain and exchanged greetings. He could vaguely discern the fox spirit’s appearance behind the curtain but dared not stare. When he was about to leave and had taken a few steps away, he turned back for one more look. The fox spirit’s voice came from behind the curtain, saying, “Son-in-law turned back!” After saying this, she let out a laughter that sounded like the hooting of an owl, sending shivers down his spine.

Hearing this, Qi Sheng was so frightened that his legs went weak, and he stumbled away as if he had lost his senses. After leaving the fox spirit’s presence, he sat for a while until he calmed his nerves. He then said, “When I heard her laughter just now, it felt like thunder striking, and I even felt as if my body was no longer my own.”

After a while, a maid came with twenty taels of silver, sent by the fox spirit. Qi Sheng accepted the silver and said to the maid, “The Holy Immortal is always with my father-in-law. Doesn’t she know that I am extravagant and not used to spending small amounts?” Upon hearing this, the fox spirit responded, “I am well aware of his behavior. But unfortunately, our household is currently short of money. Some time ago, we went to Bianliang together, but it was occupied by the River God, and the whole place was flooded. Even the treasury was submerged. We both had to dive into the water to retrieve some silver. How can I satisfy his insatiable greed? Moreover, even if I could provide him with lavish gifts, I fear his fortune may not allow him to enjoy them fully.”

The fox spirit always had foreknowledge of events about to unfold. Whenever Liu Dongjiu encountered difficulties, he would consult with her, and there was nothing they couldn’t resolve together. One day, as Liu Dongjiu sat side by side with the fox spirit, she suddenly looked up at the sky in terror and said, “A great disaster is approaching, what should we do?” Liu Dongjiu, astonished, asked if her family would be affected. The fox spirit replied, “Everyone else will be fine, except for our second son, who is a cause for concern. This place will soon become a battlefield. You should quickly request an assignment from the court and leave this area far behind to escape this calamity.”

Liu Dongjiu followed the fox spirit’s advice, and he requested a mission from his superior to escort supplies to Yunnan and Guizhou. The journey from Fenzhou to Yunnan and Guizhou was long, and people who heard about it came to comfort him, but only the fox spirit congratulated him. Soon after, General Xuanhua, Jiang Lang, rebelled against the court, and Fenzhou fell into the hands of Jiang Lang’s army. Liu Dongjiu’s second son came from Shandong to visit his father but got caught in the turmoil and was killed by the rebels. When Fenzhou fell, all the government officials, big and small, met unfortunate fates, but Liu Dongjiu was spared because he was away on official business in Yunnan and Guizhou.

After the rebellion was quelled, Liu Dongjiu returned to Fenzhou. However, he was subsequently punished due to his involvement in a major case. His family became so destitute that they couldn’t even afford three meals a day. Despite their dire circumstances, the officials in power continued to extort from him. Liu Dongjiu was trapped both inside and outside, overwhelmed by his worries. The fox spirit said, “Don’t worry; there are three thousand taels of silver under the bed that can cover our expenses.” Liu Dongjiu was overjoyed and asked, “Where did you steal it from?” The fox spirit replied, “In this world, there is nothing that belongs to anyone exclusively. Do we still need to steal?”

Later, Liu Dongjiu found an opportunity to escape from his troubles and returned to his hometown in Shandong, with the fox spirit accompanying him. After a few more years, the fox spirit suddenly left. She left behind a paper package containing several items, including a small funeral flag, about two inches long, which was hung on the door in times of mourning. People considered this an ominous sign, and not long after, Liu Dongjiu passed away.








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