Thunder Strikes the Land

During the Kangxi era(康熙), Wang Yixin(汪以炘), the magistrate of Shidai(石埭), had a close relationship with his friend Lin(林某). Later, Lin passed away, becoming the local land deity of Shidai. Every night, Wang and Lin, one in the mortal realm and the other in the afterlife, maintained an intimate connection, just like in the past.

Once, the land deity privately told Wang, “Disaster will befall your family, and I dare not withhold this information. But after telling you, I fear I may not escape punishment from the heavens.” Despite Wang’s repeated inquiries, the land deity finally said, “Your mother will be struck by lightning.”

Shocked, Wang cried out, begging for the land deity’s help. The deity replied, “This is retribution for past wrongdoing. My position is lowly; how can I aid you?” Wang continued pleading, and the deity said, “There’s only one way to save her. Quickly fulfill filial duties to your mother. Provide ten times the usual amount for her daily needs, extravagantly waste and debase everything she consumes. Perhaps by enjoying an excess of blessings, she may pass away peacefully. At that time, even if the thunder god arrives, there will be no room for action.”

Following the deity’s advice, Wang acted accordingly. Indeed, his mother passed away after a few years.

Three years later, during a thunderstorm, the thunder god arrived. Lightning surrounded the coffin, the room filled with sulfuric gas, but ultimately, no strike occurred. Instead, the lightning pierced through the roof and shattered the land deity’s statue in the temple into a pile of mud.

Translated from 《雷擊土地》 in 《子不語》:

康熙間,石埭令汪以炘素與其友林某交好。後林死,為石埭土地神,每夜間,陰陽雖隔,而兩人來往如平生歡。土地私謂汪曰:「君家有難,我不敢不告,第告君後,恐我難逃天譴。」汪再三問,曰:「尊堂太夫人分當雷擊。」汪大驚,號泣求救。土地曰:「此是前生惡劫,我官卑職小,如何能救?」汪泣請不已,神曰:「只有一法可救,汝速盡孝養之道,凡太夫人平日一飲一饌、一帳一衣,務使十倍其數,浪費而暴餮之,庶幾祿盡則亡,可以善終,雷雖來無益也。」汪如其言,其母果不數年而卒。
又三年,天雨,雷果至,繞棺照耀,滿房硫磺氣,卒不下,破屋而出,飛擊土地廟。塑像成泥。

🎨《藏雲圖》崔子忠

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