Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

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Zhang Guangxiong

In Zhili there was an intelligent, good-looking young man by the name of Zhang Guangxiong. When he reached the age of eighteen, he moved into the western chambers of his family home to study in quieter surroundings. In the house of a wealthy family there were always plenty of maidservants around, but Zhang's parents kept him closely supervised to ensure that nothing untoward happened between their son and the maids.

On the night of the seventh of July, when the town celebrated the festival of lovers, Zhang Guangxiong sat in his study dreaming of the legendary romance between the cowherd and the weaving maid. As he gazed at the stars he began to think that he would rather fancy it if one of the maids accompanied him while he studied.

In the midst of this fantasy, a beautiful woman suddenly appeared outside his window. He called out to her but received no reply. Only a short time later, though, she came strolling into his room and stopped directly in front of him. He looked carefully at her and soon realized she was not one of the maids employed in the house, so he asked her name.

"I am Miss Wang," she said.

He then persisted with his questioning. "Do you live around here?"

"I live to the west of your house, so we are in fact neighbors. I have long been an admirer of yours, so today I decided to come and meet you in person," she replied.

Zhang was ecstatic and it wasn't long before they were back in his bedroom making love. She came every night after this to sleep with Zhang.

Zhang had always had a houseboy sleeping in his room with him, but Miss Wang objected to his presence. "We don't need your little slave so nearby now. Why don't you send him further away? If we need him, we can always call him."

-100-

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