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.
Ma Feng(馬豐), a scholar who had not passed the provincial imperial examination, taught at the Li family(李家)’s school in the western village of Liyang County(溧陽). Their neighbor(王某), Wang, was known for his vicious and cruel nature, often subjecting his wife to physical abuse. Wang’s wife, often starving, stole a roasted chicken from the Li family once when she couldn’t bear the hunger anymore.
When the Li family discovered it, they informed Wang.
In Shandong(山東), there was a scholar named Lin Changkang(林長康), who, at forty years old, had not yet passed the provincial imperial examination.
One day, just as he was contemplating abandoning his studies, he suddenly heard someone call out, ‘Do not lose heart!’ Lin Changkang was startled and asked who it was. The voice replied, ‘I am a ghost. I have been following you, protecting and watching over you for several years.’