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》:

金陵評事街張姓屋西書樓三間,相傳有縊死鬼,人不敢居,封鎖甚密。一日,有少年書生盛衣冠而來,求寓其家。張辭以家無空屋,書生慍曰:「汝不借我,我自來居,日後冒犯無悔!」張聞其言,知為狐仙,詭云:「西邊書房三間,可以奉借。」因此房有鬼,私心欲狐仙居為之驅除,然口不言其故。書生喜,揖謝而去。次日,聞樓中有笑語聲,連日不斷。張知狐仙已來,日具雞酒供之。未半月,樓上寂然無聲,張疑狐仙己去,將重封鎖其門。上樓視之,有黃色狐自縊於梁上。

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