The Fox Immortal Hangs Itself

In the west of the Zhang family house on Jingling’s Judicial Street(金陵評事街), there were three study rooms rumored to house a hanging ghost. No one dared to live there; it remained securely locked. One day, a young scholar, dressed in fine attire, arrived seeking lodging at the Zhang household. The Zhang family, citing the lack of available rooms, refused him. The scholar, angered, said, ‘If you won’t lend me a room, I’ll stay on my own. If any offense occurs, don’t regret it.’ Hearing this, Zhang knew he was a fox immortal. Deceiving him, Zhang said, ‘The three study rooms on the west side are available for you.’ Zhang planned to have the fox immortal live there to help rid the house of the ghost, but he didn’t express this aloud. The scholar was pleased, bowed in thanks, and took his leave.

The next day, laughter was heard from the upstairs study room, and this continued for several days. Zhang knew the fox immortal had moved in and prepared chicken and wine offerings daily. In less than half a month, there was suddenly no sound from upstairs. Zhang suspected the fox immortal had left and wanted to close and lock the doors again. Upon going upstairs, he found a yellow fox hanging dead from the beam.

Translated from 《狐仙自縊》 in 《子不語》:


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