Old Qiu was a native of the city of Hangzhou who made his living selling cloth in and around the district. One day, after squaring accounts with a client, he called at an inn, hoping to rest before making the long journey home. Unfortunately, the inn was full.
Wang mulled over his options and decided that since the road ahead was rather bleak and desolate he would have a chat with the proprietor and try to work something out.
On hearing Qiu's predicament the innkeeper said, "How tough are you? Do you have the nerve to stay in a haunted room?
"There are some rooms over by the back wall that we once used for gambling--throwing dice and the like--but nobody has stayed in them for a long time. I'm afraid they really are haunted. I personally wouldn't recommend that you stay there."
"I've traveled over twelve thousand miles during my lifetime. I don't see why I should be afraid of ghosts," Old Qiu replied.
And so, carrying a candle, the innkeeper escorted Old Qiu through to the back of the compound. Along the back wall, a couple of hundred yards from the main building, lay a line of huts. From the outside the huts appeared clean and tidy, and when Qiu went inside to complete his inspection he found to his delight that the rooms were each furnished with a table, chair, bed, and curtains.
With his customer happy, the innkeeper excused himself and returned to the main building.
It was a sultry night, so Qiu decided to sit outside to work on his accounts.
The moon cast a faint light upon the courtyard, and in the semidarkness Qiu gazed as if in a trance upon what seemed to be a human figure flitting by just a few yards away. He suspected it was a thief intent on illicit gain, but then, as he concentrated his gaze, another shadow flashed past.