Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

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The Female Impersonator

In Guiyang County there lived an extremely beautiful man by the name of Hong. He made a living teaching embroidery to young women by posing as a traveling female embroidery tutor in Hunan and Guizhou provinces.

One year he was employed in Changsha by a scholar named Li. Now Li, who believed Hong to be a young woman, planned to seduce his new employee. But when he approached Hong, the latter confessed to being a man.

Scholar Li laughed and said, "It's even better if you're a man! I have always thought that the tale of the female impersonators of the Northern Wei was a great tragedy.

"The ruler of Wei visited his mother, the empress dowager, in the palace and saw two beautiful nuns in attendance. He summoned them to his rooms with the intention of having his way with them only to discover they were men. The extremely foolish ruler of Wei then ordered that they be summarily executed.

"Why didn't he take these two on as his personal bum-boys in his own Longyang palace? If he'd done this he would have won the loyalty of these servants and avoided offending the empress dowager."

Hong understood what was being asked and agreed. Scholar Li was very kind and cherished Hong as a lover should.

A few years later Hong traveled to Jiangxia, where a man by the name of Du, also assuming Hong to be a woman, tried to seduce him. Hong hoped that Du would be as kind as Scholar Li, so he flirted charmingly, anticipating a generous reaction. Unfortunately, Du was not as accommodating and instead dragged Hong off to the police to have him prosecuted.

After the arrest Hong was deported to Guiyang, where he was given a physical examination by the police inspector. The inspector found that Hong lacked an Adam's apple and as a consequence had a soft, delicate voice.

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Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei
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