Ghost Expelling Ghost

In Tongcheng(桐城), there was a scholar named Zuo(左秀才) whose relationship with his wife, Zhang,(張氏) was exceptionally close. When Zhang fell ill and passed away, Zuo couldn’t bear to be separated from her. He spent every night sleeping beside her coffin. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, his family held a ceremony for the deceased, everyone praying and making offerings outside, leaving Zuo alone to read beside Zhang’s coffin.

Suddenly, a chilling wind arose, and a ghost, disheveled with blood dripping and dragging a rope, approached Zuo menacingly. Panicked, Zuo pounded the coffin and cried, ‘Sister, save me!’ Astonishingly, his wife immediately lifted the coffin lid, scolding, ‘How dare you, evil ghost, harm my husband!’ She waved her arms, striking the ghost, who fled in a hurry.

His wife said to him, ‘You are too foolish, too engrossed in love, to reach this extent! Because of your meager blessings, evil spirits dared to intrude. It’s better for us to depart together and be reborn as a couple, growing old together.’ Zuo readily agreed, and Zhang lay back inside the coffin. When Zuo called his family to witness, they found several nails on the coffin lid broken, and half of his wife’s skirt trapped in the coffin’s seam.

Less than a year later, Zuo also passed away.

Translated from《鬼逐鬼》in 《子不語》:

桐城左秀才某,與其妻張氏伉儷甚篤。張病卒,左不忍相離,終日伴棺而寢。
七月十五日,其家作盂蘭之會,家人俱在外禮佛設醮,秀才獨伴妻棺看書。忽陰風一陣,有縊死鬼披髮流血拖繩而至,直犯秀才。秀才惶急,拍棺呼曰:「妹妹救我!」其妻竟勃然掀棺而起,罵曰:「惡鬼,敢無禮犯我郎君耶!」揮臂打鬼,鬼踉蹌逃出。妻謂秀才:「汝癡矣,夫婦鍾情一至于是耶!緣汝福薄,故惡鬼敢于相犯,益同我歸去投人身,再作偕老計耶?」秀才唯唯,妻仍入棺臥矣。秀才呼家人視之,棺釘數重皆斷,妻之裙猶夾半幅於棺縫中也。不踰年,秀才亦卒。

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