In the capital, there was an elderly woman who could see ghosts. She once told people, “I once saw a ghost at a certain family, utterly infatuated to the extreme. However, the situation was pitiful, evoking a poignant and touching feeling. The ghost’s name was unknown, residing in a certain village. The family was moderately well-off, and the ghost died at the age of around twenty-seven or twenty-eight. About a hundred days after his death, the deceased’s wife invited me to accompany her. I observed him often sitting under the lilac tree in the courtyard, listening to the cries of his wife, the noise of his son, or the scolding and reproach from his brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Though unable to approach due to the strong yang energy repelling him, he always stood outside the window, listening with a woeful expression. Later, when a matchmaker visited his wife’s room, he suddenly became alert, looking around anxiously. Upon hearing that the matchmaking failed, he showed a slight expression of joy. Subsequently, as the matchmaker moved between the brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and his wife’s rooms, he followed the matchmaker, looking bewildered, as if he had lost something. When the engagement was successful and the groom’s family sent the betrothal gifts, he sat under the tree, eyes fixed on his wife’s room, shedding tears like rain. From that day on, whenever his wife went in or out, he always followed closely, his yearning becoming more intense. The night before his wife remarried, as she prepared her dowry in the room, he lingered outside, either leaning against the corridor pillar weeping or bowing his head in contemplation. Upon hearing sounds of coughing and rinsing inside the room, he immediately peeped through a crack. Throughout the night, he paced anxiously, restless.
At this point in her story, the old woman continued, “At that time, I sighed: ‘Infatuated ghost, why do you do this?’ It seemed like he didn’t hear. The next day was when the bridegroom’s family came to escort the bride. With lamps as guides, the ghost stood aside along the wall, still gazing up at his wife. I accompanied the bride to leave, and when I looked back, I saw him, eyes following from a distance to the groom’s house. Initially blocked by the door god, after he bowed and pleaded, he was allowed to enter the groom’s house. He hid in a corner, watching his wife and the groom bow to each other and become a married couple. He stood there, seemingly transfixed, like someone intoxicated. When the bride entered the bridal chamber, he quietly approached the window to peek. Until late at night, when the newlyweds extinguished the candles and enjoyed the night together, he still refused to leave. Eventually, he was driven away by the household god and appeared disheveled. After leaving the groom’s house, he returned to his own home, entering the room where his wife used to live. At this time, his son was still in the house, crying for his mother. He swiftly came out of the room, circled around his son, gesturing helplessly with his hands, displaying a look of despair. When his sister-in-law came out and slapped his son, he stomped his feet while clenching his hands to his chest, revealing a distant expression of intense hatred.”
The elderly woman concluded, “Watching this, my heart couldn’t bear it, so I directly returned home and never went to see him again.”
Translated from《癡鬼戀妻》in 《續子不語》: