Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

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

A Fox Fairy Plays Guanyin for Three Years

A scholar by the name of Zhou from Hangzhou was walking with the grand Daoist master Zhang one day. The two men stopped at an inn in Baoding, and there appeared a beautiful woman who knelt on the steps in front of the grand master. She looked as if she was praying.

The scholar then asked the grand master what had happened between them and the master replied, "That woman is a fox fairy. She was just asking me permission to use some incense from the human world, that's all."

The scholar asked in reply, "Did you grant her wish?"

Grand Master Zhang replied, "She has been cultivating her spirit for years and I can detect a distinct spiritual aura around her. I am rather concerned that if I give her some of the potent incense she requested, she'll have the magical power to turn herself into an object of worship."

Now Scholar Zhou rather fancied the looks of the young woman, so he persuaded Zhang to grant her permission to use the incense.

The grand master responded, "You have put me in a very awkward position, as I have no desire to deny your wishes. I'll give her permission to use this incense for three years, but she must receive no more after this period is over."

Having thus decided, Grand Master Zhang ordered one of his priests to put the agreement in writing on his yellow paper and pass it on to the young woman.

Three years later, just after Scholar Zhou had failed the imperial examinations, he made his way from the capital and passed through Suzhou. There he heard that on a nearby mountain, there was a temple to the goddess Guanyin where miraculous events were happening. In his despondent state he decided to make his way up to the temple to offer some prayers and leave a few offerings.

At the base of the mountain he made inquiries and was told by several fellow pilgrims, "This particular Guanyin achieves remarkable

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