Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

By Kam Louie; Louise Edwards et al. | Go to book overview

Deputy Prefect Li

The deputy prefect of Guangxi Province was an extremely wealthy man by the name of Li. He kept seven concubines and owned many priceless treasures and jewels. Tragically, this wealthy young subprefect was only twenty-seven when he fell ill and died.

Among the numerous members of his household was an elderly servant of impeccable honesty and unfailing loyalty. Of course, he sorely grieved the loss of his beloved young master. He and the concubines built a little shrine in Li's honor and this became the focus of their ritual prayers and fasting.

One day a wandering Daoist monk came knocking at the door to beg for alms.

The elderly servant scolded him, saying, "Our young master has just passed away, and here you are asking us for alms!"

The Daoist laughed. "So, you wish he were back here among you, do you? Well, then, I can do a little magic for you and bring him back if you like," he said mysteriously.

The old servant was overjoyed at this news and rushed inside to tell the concubines. The women were all very surprised to learn that such a miracle was possible and they hurried out to meet the Daoist. He had vanished, however.

This sorely missed opportunity generated no small amount of rancor among the women gathered at the gate. Each one blamed the next for offending a Daoist immortal and they returned to their quarters, all rather disgruntled.

Not long after this first meeting, the elderly servant saw the Daoist at the local market performing various religious rites. Greatly excited by this chance meeting, he rushed over to beg forgiveness for his earlier rudeness.

In response to the servant's request for help the Daoist said, "I didn't leave because I didn't want to help return your master. It was just that

-3-

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