Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

By Kam Louie; Louise Edwards et al. | Go to book overview
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A Fox Fairy and a Ghost Invade the Stomach

An imperial guard, Li Hongfeng, had a son by the name of Li Yi, who also had the official name Yi Shan, because he had once been a scholar in the Hanlin Academy.

Li Yi was a well-rounded scholar. He was able to expound knowledgeably on neo-Confucian philosophy, and he wrote excellent poetry and prose.

One evening while he was reading under the lamplight, two beautiful women appeared before him. They teased him mercilessly and soon grew quite brazen, and eventually Li found himself subjected to all sorts of lewd advances. With firm resolve Li remained impassive throughout the ordeal.

Later that evening, after Li had finished dinner, he heard a voice coming from his stomach. "I attached myself to some of the eggplants you ate for dinner. Now that I'm actually housed in your stomach, you won't be able to ignore me, will you?"

The voice was clearly that of one of the women who had attempted to seduce him under the lamplight earlier that evening.

From this day on, Li walked around with glazed eyes as if in some sort of trance. His behavior became more and more irregular. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, he would suddenly slap himself in the face. He was once seen out in a rainstorm kneeling on the ground with only a small pebble on his head for protection, making absolutely no effort to seek shelter from the torrent. Other times he would suddenly bow down before someone, placing his head on the floor in a mock form of worship, maintaining the position even while he was dragged away.

As the days passed his face grew sallow and pasty and his body grew thinner. It seemed that he would soon waste away. When the spirit wanted to communicate with others, Li acted as the medium and would variously write or speak the spirit's message.

-111-

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Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei
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