The Spirit of Flowers

A scholar named Xie from Wuyuan(婺源) was studying on Mount Zhanggong(張公山). One morning, he heard the chirping of birds in the woods, resembling the cries of parrots. Upon approaching, he discovered a beautiful woman, about five inches tall, naked and without feathers, her entire body pure white like jade. Between her eyebrows, there was a look of sadness. Xie captured her and brought her home. Surprisingly, the woman showed no sign of fear. He kept her in a cage, feeding her regularly. The woman would speak continuously when she saw people, but her words were completely incomprehensible. After several days, exposed to sunlight, she withered like dried wax and died.

Hong Yulin(洪宇鱗), a scholar, heard about this and said, “This woman is called the Spirit of Flowers. Whenever a tree has witnessed three suicides by hanging, the grievances will condense into this entity. Watering it can revive it.” Xie tried it, and indeed, she came back to life. Many people from the village gathered to witness the phenomenon. Concerned that it might cause trouble if widely known, Xie decided to release her back into the woods. Shortly after, a large strange bird flew in and carried her away in its beak.

Translated from《花魄》in 《子不語》:


Leave a Comment