Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

By Kam Louie; Louise Edwards et al. | Go to book overview
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Demons Are Terrified of Rationalism

In Suzhou there was a wealthy octogenarian by the name of Huang who lived alone in his huge house. One day, as he was going about his business, he glanced up and saw a young woman leaning against the doorframe staring at him.

Huang calmly assumed this to be the ghost of his young daughter who had died in the house many years earlier. Deciding that no reaction was the best reaction, Huang simply pretended he did not see her.

The next night she returned, but this time in the company of a man. On the third night, while Huang was sitting reading, he noticed the couple sitting on the roof beam above his head, staring down at him. Huang continued to pretend he could not see them and turned back to his book with an unconcerned expression.

This was too much for the male ghost. He jumped down and stood directly in front of Huang. The old man then smiled and inquired, "Are you a ghost?"

He then proceeded to lecture the ghost: "Coming here to see me now is really quite foolish. I'm already over eighty years old and it won't be long before I'm living in the same world as you. I could die at any time, so why visit me now!?

"On the other hand, if you are an immortal, then why don't you sit down here next to me and tell me about yourself."

Hearing such a rational speech from Huang, the demon burst out in a tremendous howl. The sound was so intense that the windows burst open.

The wind that rushed in from the darkness outside was chilly and damp and whipped through Huang's thin clothes. Huang called out to his servants, but by the time they had hurried upstairs to see about the commotion, the ghosts had gone.

Only a few months later two of Huang's daughters-in-law and one of his grandsons died.

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Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei
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