Spending money on fortune-telling, predicting life and death, and encounters with supernatural beings in ancient times.
In ancient times, there was a young man who was known for his valor and righteousness. He enjoyed practicing martial arts and had incredible strength, capable of lifting a heavy pot with his bare hands and spinning it like a whirlwind. During the Chongzhen period of the Ming Dynasty, he participated in the imperial examination in the capital city. Unfortunately, one of his servants fell ill with a contagious disease and was bedridden, causing him great worry. Coincidentally, there was a fortune teller in the marketplace who was skilled in divination and could predict a person’s life and death. The young man decided to consult the fortune teller to inquire about his servant’s illness. When he arrived at the fortune teller’s place, before he could say anything, the fortune teller spoke, “You must be here to inquire about your servant’s illness, right?” The young man was astonished and nodded in agreement. The fortune teller continued, “The patient is not in great danger, but you are in danger!” Intrigued, the young man asked the fortune teller to read his fortune as well. After casting the divination, the fortune teller exclaimed in shock, “You will definitely die within three days!” The young man was taken aback by the prediction. The fortune teller then calmly said, “I have a small method. For a fee of ten taels of silver, I can help you ward off this calamity.” The young man pondered in silence, wondering how a method could alter a fate that was predetermined. He decided not to pay attention to the fortune teller and stood up to leave. The fortune teller urged, “Don’t be stingy with these few coins; you won’t regret it! Don’t regret it!” Despite the concerns of his good friends, the young man chose not to heed their advice and did not part with his money.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye, and Yu Gong sat in the inn, quietly observing the situation. However, he showed no signs of illness throughout the entire day. When night fell, he closed the doors and windows, lit an oil lamp, and sat in the room with a sword in hand. As the first watch of the night was coming to an end, there was still no sign of impending death. Just as he was about to go to bed, he suddenly heard a rustling sound coming from the crack in the window. He hurried over to see a small figure entering, and as soon as it landed, it grew to the size of an adult. Yu Gong immediately drew his sword and leaped forward, thrusting it with great force, but the figure seemed ethereal and he missed. The figure then shrank back to a small size and tried to escape through the window crack. Yu Gong caught up and struck with all his might, causing the figure to collapse. When he examined it with the light, he realized it was a paper figure, cut in half at the waist. Yu Gong didn’t dare to lie down and sleep, so he continued to sit and wait. After a while, he heard heavy breathing outside the window, as if a monster was pushing against the window frame, causing the walls of the house to shake as if they were about to collapse. Fearing being trapped under the fallen house, Yu Gong decided to confront the creature. He quickly opened the door latch and rushed out. There he saw a giant demon, as tall as the eaves of the house, with a face as black as coal, eyes shining with yellow light. It had an upper body without clothes and bare feet, holding a bow and arrows, and arrows in its waist. As Yu Gong was still in shock, the demon pulled its bow and shot an arrow at him. Yu Gong used his sword to deflect the arrow, and it fell to the ground. Just as he was about to attack, the demon shot another arrow. Yu Gong quickly dodged, and the arrow pierced through the wall, causing it to tremble. The demon, furious, drew a sword and swung it like a whirlwind towards Yu Gong. Yu Gong agilely and swiftly countered, and the demon’s sword struck a stone in the courtyard, breaking it in half. At that moment, Yu Gong slipped between the demon’s legs and sliced at its ankle, making a metallic clang. The demon roared in anger like thunder, turned around, and swung the sword down again. Yu Gong dropped to the ground and slid between the demon’s legs once more, causing the sword to cut through his robe. Now, Yu Gong was beneath the demon and slashed at its side, creating a clangor like that of metal hitting metal. The demon was struck and fell flat on the ground. Yu Gong continued to strike wildly, making a sound like knocking on wood. When he lit a candle, he realized it was a wooden puppet, the same size as a person, with a bow and arrows still attached to its waist. Its face was carved in a fearsome manner, and there was blood flowing from the areas where it had been struck. Yu Gong then lit a candle and sat there, waiting for the dawn. He finally understood that these supernatural beings were sent by the fortune teller to bring him to the brink of death, in order to prove the accuracy of his divination.
On the second day, Yu Gong recounted the entire incident to all his friends who knew about it, and they all went to the fortune teller’s residence together. When the fortune teller saw Yu Gong from a distance, he disappeared in the blink of an eye. Someone said, “This is invisibility technique, and it can be dispelled using dog’s blood.” Yu Gong followed the advice and prepared to confront the fortune teller once again. Just like the previous time, the fortune teller vanished from sight. In haste, Yu Gong poured dog’s blood on the spot where the fortune teller had been standing, and the fortune teller reappeared, with his head and face covered in dog’s blood, his eyes gleaming, resembling a ghost. Yu Gong then had him arrested and taken to the relevant authorities, where he was sentenced to death.
The chronicler of strange tales said: I have previously stated that spending money on fortune-telling is a foolish endeavor. In this world, those who practice this craft and can accurately predict the exact time of a person’s life and death are few and far between. Divination often proves to be inaccurate, much like not engaging in divination at all. Furthermore, even if one clearly tells me that the end of my life is approaching, what can one do about it? Moreover, there are those individuals who demonstrate their supposed expertise by plotting harm to others’ lives, making it all the more frightening!