Fox Demon in the Belly

《幽竹枯槎圖》卷 王庭筠

Li Yi(李鷁), the son of Minister Li Hefeng(李鶴峰), styled as Yishan(醫山), passed the imperial examination in the 26th year of Qianlong’s reign and was selected to join the Hanlin Academy(翰林). He excelled in poetry and literature, and had a fondness for the Cheng-Zhu school of Neo-Confucianism(宋儒理學).

One day, while Li Yi was studying under the lamp, two exceedingly beautiful women suddenly appeared to tempt him, but he paid them no attention. 

Thunder Strikes the Land


During the Kangxi era(康熙), Wang Yixin(汪以炘), the magistrate of Shidai(石埭), had a close relationship with his friend Lin(林某). Later, Lin passed away, becoming the local land deity of Shidai. Every night, Wang and Lin, one in the mortal realm and the other in the afterlife, maintained an intimate connection, just like in the past.

Once, the land deity privately told Wang, “Disaster will befall your family, and I dare not withhold this information. 

Observing Cause and Effect

《東坡題竹圖軸》杜堇 明

Ma Shilin(馬士麟), a scholar from Changzhou(常州), once recounted a personal experience:

When he was young, he and his father studied in the northern tower. From their window, they could see the outdoor flower platform of an old man named Wang who sold chrysanthemums. One day, Ma Shilin woke up early, leaning against the window and peering below. The sky was gradually brightening, and he saw Wang ascending the platform to water the flowers. 

The Case of the First Time the Magistrate Pan Gu Settled

傅抱石 山水

The “Book of the Northern Dynasties(北史)” says that the king of Piqian(毗騫國) had a three-foot-long head and still hasn’t died to this day. I used to doubt the authenticity of this record.

During the Kangxi(康熙) period, a man named Fang Wenmu(方文木) from Zhejiang(浙人) was navigating at sea when his ship was blown by the wind to a place where a grand and magnificent palace stood, inscribed with the three characters “Piqian Palace(毗騫殿)”. 

A Grave Mistake

Yan Song(嚴嵩), for his wife Ouyang(歐陽氏), selected a burial ground, summoning several dozen guests skilled in Feng Shui from among his followers. He addressed them, saying, ‘My wealth has reached its peak. What more could I desire? I only hope that you, sirs, will choose for me a piece of auspicious land so that my descendants may be as prosperous as I am. Then I shall be content.’ These guests readily agreed. 

The Scholar from Shandong

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.’ 

Debt Repaid

In Luoyang’s Shuilu Temple, there was a monk named Da Le, who was quite wealthy. His neighbor, surnamed Zhou, worked in the government office and was very poor. The supervisor of his post often extorted money when collecting taxes, taking advantage whenever possible. Whenever it was time to turn in the collected sum, Zhou would frequently borrow money from Monk Da Le to make up the shortfall. Over a span of a few years, he ended up owing the monk a total of seven taels of silver. 

Two Jade Belts

The Tang Dynasty’s Chancellor, Duke Pei Du of Jin(裴度), was thin and small in stature, lacking the distinguished appearance that hindered his success in the realm of achievements and fame. Perplexed by this, he sought guidance.

Fortuitously, there was a renowned physiognomist in Luoyang, highly esteemed by scholars and officials. Pei Du purposely visited him, seeking insight into his fate. Upon scrutinizing Pei Du’s countenance, the physiognomist remarked, “Sir, your appearance exudes an extraordinary aura. 

Have you eaten your fill of fish?

During the Tang Dynasty, in Jinjiang County, Quanzhou, there was a county official named Zhang Zong who had a great fondness for fish. One day, he suddenly fell ill and, though appearing dead, his chest remained warm. After seven days, he unexpectedly revived. At the same time, Li E, a censor, had been demoted and appointed as the new county official of Jinjiang. He was at a colleague named Wang’s house, indulging in a fish feast. 

The Forbidden Treasure

In the summer, a heavy storm flooded the toilet of Lu Yanxu, the warehouse keeper of Xuzhou. The water soon drained away, and Lu Yanxu invited his neighbors to come and see. They saw a grave pit below, with a large coffin in the middle. Inside the coffin lay a woman in her twenties. She was white and clean, with fingernails that were five or six inches long. She had more than ten gold hairpins in her hair.