Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

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

The Patriarch of Fox Fairies

A young woman who lived in a Dai village in Yancheng County was once bewitched by a demon. She eventually grew tired of the host of ineffectual magic charms she had tried, and decided the time had come to take personal action against the demon. So, she lodged a complaint with the god of the Guandi temple that lay to the north of the village. After she burned her letter the demon did indeed cease its harassment.

One night not long after this, everyone in her household had an identical dream. A god dressed in full battle array spoke to them. "I am General Zhou, a subordinate of the great god of war, Guandi. A few days ago one of your family requested help in exorcising a demon. This demon was in fact a fox fairy and I have already executed the beast.

"However, tomorrow all of the fox's friends are planning to take up arms against me to avenge its death. I will need your support in this battle. So, bring your drums and cymbals to the temple to spur me on."

The next morning, the family hurried to the temple, their numbers swelled by supportive neighbors. From somewhere in the air they could hear the thundering of horses' hooves and the clanking of armor. They took these battle sounds to be their cue.

The people in the crowd picked up their drums and cymbals and began to beat the rhythms of the war drums with all their might. Soon a black smoke filled the courtyard, and as it wafted. into the village the sky began to rain fox corpses.

Several days later, the family dreamed that General Zhou returned. He said, "I have offended the Patriarch of the Foxes by slaughtering so many of his kind. The patriarch has lodged a complaint against me with the heavenly emperor, and the imperial police will soon be investigating the case.

"I hope I can depend on your support when I make my defense." Zhou then left details of the time and place of the hearing.

At the appointed time, the family gathered at the temple, taking care

-69-

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