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》:

廣西南寧鄉里,祀六郎神。人或語言觸犯,則為祟。尤善媚女子,美者多為所憑。凡受其害者,以紙鏹一束,飯一盂,用兩三樂人,午夜祀之,送至曠野,即去而之他。其俗無夕不送六郎也。
有楊三姑者,年十七,美姿容。日將夕,方與父母共坐,忽嫣然睨笑。久之,趨入房,施朱傅粉,嬌羞百態。父母往問,磚石自空擲下,房門遂閉,惟聞兩人笑語聲。知為六郎,亟呼樂人送之。六郎不肯去。及晨,女出如常,云:「六郎美少年,頭戴將巾,身披軟甲,年可二十七八,與我甚恩愛,不必送他去。」父母無如何。
越數夕,忽倉皇奔出曰:「又一六郎來!大鬍子,貌甚獰惡,與前六郎爭我相毆。前六郎非其敵也,行當去矣。」俄聞室中鬥聲甚劇,似無物不損者,父母乃召樂人雙送之。兩人俱去,三姑亦無恙。

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