Fight of the Liu Lang Shen

The people of Nanning in Guangxi all worship the deity Liu Lang Shen. If someone inadvertently offends in speech, Liu Lang Shen would come to haunt them. This Liu Lang Shen is particularly adept at beguiling women; most young and beautiful women are often possessed by him. The affected families must prepare a bundle of paper money, a bowl of rice, and invite two or three musicians. In the dead of night, amidst music and beating, they would escort Liu Lang Shen to desolate fields, after which he would haunt another household. Consequently, almost every day, ceremonies to send away Liu Lang Shen were held in this place.

There was a young girl named Yang San, seventeen years old, exceptionally beautiful. One evening, as Yang San sat leisurely in the courtyard with her parents, she suddenly cast a sidelong, infatuated smile. After a while, she returned to her chamber, adorned herself with makeup and various coquettish gestures. Perplexed, her parents intended to inquire but just as they reached her chamber door, a barrage of bricks and stones descended from above. Subsequently, the door closed shut, echoing with the sounds of merriment and conversation between a man and a woman. Yang San’s parents realized their daughter was enchanted by Liu Lang Shen. They urgently summoned musicians to escort him away, yet Liu Lang Shen refused to depart.

The next morning, Yang San emerged from her chamber, behaving as she normally would. She said to her parents, ‘Liu Lang is a handsome young man, donning a headscarf and soft armor, aged around twenty-seven or twenty-eight. We are deeply in love. Please don’t send him away!’ Helpless, her parents had no choice but to relent.

This continued for several nights. Once, Yang San suddenly rushed out of her chamber, exclaiming to her parents, ‘Trouble! Another Liu Lang has entered the room. This man has a face full of beard, fierce and menacing. He is fighting with the previous Liu Lang over me! The former Liu Lang is no match for him; it seems he has to leave.’ By now, the sounds of the brawl in the chamber grew louder, and it seemed nothing inside would remain intact. Yang San’s parents had to once again summon musicians to send both Liu Lang Shen away, and from then on, Yang San remained unharmed.

Translated from《六郎神鬥》 in 《子不語》:


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