In the twenty-sixth year of the Qianlong era, there was a beggar in Huqiu who raised a large bear, the size of a Sichuan horse, with fur as straight and dense as arrows. This bear could write and compose poems but could not speak. Those who wished to visit were allowed to watch for a fee of one wen. If you brought white paper and asked the bear to write, it would use large characters to write a Tang poem, demanding a fee of one hundred coins.
There was a man named Mao Ba(茅八) who, in his youth, went to Jiangxi to trade paper. In the deep mountains of Jiangxi, there were many paper mills. The people in the mills would close the doors as the sun set and warned Mao Ba not to go out, telling him, ‘There are many strange things in the mountains, not just ordinary tigers and wolves.’
One night, the moonlight was very bright, and Mao Ba couldn’t sleep.
Zhang Ningren(張寧人) said that the elderly man next door likes to smoke. He holds a bamboo pipe that is more than five feet long and has been using it for over thirty years.
One day, a Daoist priest walked by the door, saw the smoking pipe in the old man’s hand, and said to him, ‘This thing has absorbed human essence for a long time and has become a Smoke Dragon.
A severe drought occurred in Guangdong, and Governor-General Sun Gong(孫公) prayed to the gods for rain, but it was ineffective. At that time, while he was inspecting Chaozhou, he saw over a thousand people gathered on a hill ahead. He sent someone to inquire, and the answer he received was, “Watching the immortal child.”
Previously, in Chaozhou, there was a villager surnamed Sun. His twelve-year-old son, along with a group of village boys, was playing on the hill.
Xu, the household registration secretary of Shanyin County, fell ill and in a daze saw his deceased brother come to him and say, “I’ve bought an official vacancy for you in the underworld. After you die, you’ll still be the secretary in the underworld, so there’s nothing to worry about.” Shortly after, another deceased local constable named Zhu came and said, “You don’t have to die, but you have to give me a large sum of money.
Zhang, a gentleman from Hangzhou, said: When my father, Mr. Xingzi(星子先生), served as the educational commissioner in Jiangxi, there was a maidservant who was originally dull but suddenly became clever, surprising the family.
One day, this maid closed the door to take a bath and didn’t come out for a long time. Calls to her went unanswered. Peeking inside, no one was there. Breaking in, they found the bathwater untouched. All the windows were tightly shut, and everything inside was normal, without a speck of dust disturbed.
A Zen master on Mount Wutai once took on a disciple who was only three years old at the time. Mount Wutai is extremely high, and the master and disciple practiced on the summit, never descending the mountain. After more than ten years, the master and the disciple descended the mountain together. The young monk saw cows, horses, chickens, and dogs but didn’t know what they were.
The master pointed and told him, “This is a cow, used for plowing fields.
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.
A man named Zhang from Hezhou traveled to Yangzhou(揚州) and stayed at the Xingjiao Temple(興教寺). The monks’ quarters in the temple were haunted by a fox immortal, so no one dared to stay there. Zhang, with his carefree personality, decided to reside in the monk’s room.
Not long after Zhang moved in, an old man claiming to be Wu Gangzi(吳剛子) came to visit. After exchanging greetings with a bow, they began to converse.
The county magistrate Zhong Liquan(鍾醴泉) of Tiantai County(天台縣) told me: when his father served as the governor of Guizhou(貴州) Dading Prefecture(大定府), he established a lead mining bureau. One noon, a bull suddenly rushed into the lead factory, and despite the efforts of dozens of people whipping it, they couldn’t drive it away. Liquan went to observe, and the bull knelt on the ground as if bowing. Therefore, he asked the person who brought the bull, “Is this a plowing ox or a slaughter ox for meat?”
In Hangzhou, there was a scholar named Sun who, on a summer night, was reading in his study. He felt something crawling on his forehead and, upon brushing it with his hand, saw countless strands of white beard hanging down from the plaque on the ceiling. On the plaque was a large face, about the size of a seven-stone jar, with eyebrows and eyes like an ordinary person, smiling and looking down.
Ge Zuliang(葛祖亮), an official in the Ministry of Rites, told me: A neighbor named Cheng, who was wealthy but childless for many years, unexpectedly had a son in his old age. This son was intelligent and clever, with bright features that Cheng cherished dearly. However, by the age of twelve, the child fell seriously ill, incurring countless medical expenses. As he grew older, instead of engaging in productive activities, he took pleasure in cockfighting and dog racing, squandering away the family fortune.