Smoke Dragon

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. 

The Thunder God is Defiled

《雷神圖》明 佚名

Shen Yutan(沈雨潭) also said, on a day in the twenty-seventh year of Qianlong, thunder and lightning raged, and thunderbolts spun over the Huai’an(淮安) Orphanage. It was about to strike an old woman in the courtyard. At that time, this old woman was urinating. Suddenly, a loud thunder directly struck above her head. The old woman panicked, immediately lifted the chamber pot, and threw it in the direction of the thunder. Afterwards, a golden-armored Thunder God circled around the roof for a few rounds and then landed on the ground. 

The Fox Daoist

《雙鉤竹石圖》李衎

In the maternal family of Fa Jiasun(法嘉蓀)’s grandmother, there was a nephew named Sun who was a wealthy man in the local area. In the early Qing Dynasty, piracy was rampant along the coastal areas, so Sun moved his family to Jintan(金壇). One day, an old man surnamed Hu, accompanied by dozens of descendants and servants, along with some valuable luggage, passed by Sun’s house. The old man claimed to be from Shanxi(山西) and, due to the chaos of war, couldn’t proceed further, requesting to borrow an empty room in Sun’s house for temporary residence. 

The Monkey and Ape Wine

《戲猿圖》明宣宗

Scholar Cao Loyin(曹學士洛禋) once told me this story.

In the spring of the forty-third year of Kangxi(康熙)’s reign, he and his friend Pan Xichou(潘錫疇) traveled to Huangshan(黃山) and arrived at the Wenshu Monastery(文殊院), where they dined with monks including Xuezhuang(雪莊). Suddenly, the monks disappeared from the table, leaving only their heads visible. Xuezhuang said, ‘This is the ‘floating cloud atop(雲過),’ no need for the two guests to be surprised.’

The next day, they reached the Yunfeng Cave(雲峰洞) and found an old man living there. 

The Spirit of the White Stone

《竹鶴圖軸》邊文進 明

In Tianchang County(天長), there was a magistrate named Lin who served in the capital city’s district. In his home, there was a spirit-writing altar occupied by a monster. This monster claimed to be the ‘True Man of the White Stone(白石真人)’ and accurately foretold fortunes and misfortunes for those who sought its advice.

The monster often persuaded Magistrate Lin to cultivate the Dao and practice immortal arts, claiming that by opening a third eye on his face, he could see the palace where the Heavenly Emperor resided and the immortals frolicking in the clouds. 

The Bald Spot of an Immortal

《潑墨仙人圖》梁楷

In the autumn of the thirty-eighth year of the Qianlong reign(癸巳秋), Magistrate Zhang(張明府) encountered a Daoist named Yang(楊道人) in Changzhou. This Daoist had a youthful appearance with the exception of a one-inch square bald spot on the crown of his head, devoid of any hair. Zhang, the Magistrate, found this quite peculiar and inquired about the reason behind it. Yang chuckled and said, ‘Have you not noticed how grass grows on either side of a street, but in the middle, where people walk, not a blade of grass thrives?’ 

The Folding Immortal

《果熟來禽圖》林椿

In the Hushi Pass of Suzhou(滸市關), there was a man named Chen Yiyuan(陳一元) who left home to pursue the Dao. He constructed a house solely for cultivating his practices. He would sit alone in the house, locking himself inside. At first, he stopped eating porridge, then abstained from fruits and vegetables, drinking only water from the Stone Lake. He instructed his son to bring a jug of water each month. On the second month, when his son came to visit, the jug remained outside the door, but the water had dried up. 

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. 

The Expulsion of the White Sea Hare

《漁父圖》卷 許道寧

In the Baihou(白鱟) Cave of Mount Bian in Wuxing(吳興卞山), every spring and summer, a white vapor drifted out of the cave. It resembled a piece of white silk, floating aimlessly in the air. Wherever this vapor passed, silkworm cocoons were destroyed completely. Hence, during silkworm cultivation, people dreaded this white vapor. However, this vapor was particularly afraid of the sound of gongs and drums. During the Ming Dynasty, Han Shao(韓紹), the Minister of Rites(明太常卿), once ordered officials to use poisoned arrows to drive it away, documenting the process in the ‘Expulsion of the White Sea Hare’ found in the ‘Annals of Wuxing Prefecture.'(《驅鱟文》載郡志) 

The God Guan Settles a Prison Case

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. 

The Ghost Wearing Clothes Falls into a Trap

In Shucheng County(舒城縣), Luzhou Prefecture(廬州府), there was a villager named Chen(陳姓者). His wife was suddenly haunted by a female ghost who sometimes strangled her throat with hands and other times tied her neck with straw ropes. No one around her could see the haunting ghost. Tormented and in agony, she frequently clawed at her clothes, pulling out many straw ropes.

Chen gave his wife a bundle of peach tree branches, saying, ‘If the female ghost returns, use these to strike her!’ 

How to Get the Moon by Papercutting

A twisting Chinese mythology story about how magical powers of Taoism(道家) can do anything, even travel through time and space.

Once upon a time, there was a Mr. Wang who lived in the upper reaches of the Wujiang River(烏江). He usually kept his whereabouts hidden, so the villagers could not tell who he was. Some people thought he was a demon.

One day, a fire broke out in the village. The fire spread quickly and destroyed many houses.