After waging campaigns against rebels in the mountainous borderlands General Zhao Liangdong passed through Chengdu in Sichuan Province. He was welcomed on his arrival by the governor of Sichuan and escorted to the house of a local citizen to spend the night.
When he arrived at the house General Zhao discovered that the rooms he had been allocated were extremely cramped, so he asked to stay in the yamen of the western district.
In reply the governor explained, "I would have had the yamen prepared for your arrival but I'm told it is haunted. It's been locked up for over a century now."
General Zhao smiled. "Over the course of my life I've defeated hordes of bandits, quelled many rebellions, and slaughtered countless numbers of men. If those ghosts and demons know what's good for them they'll stay out of my way!"
He promptly gave the order for the yamen to be cleaned out in preparation for his personal use. The general housed his family in the inner quarters while he himself took a bed in the main room. As he lay down to sleep he put his long military lance under his pillow.
At the second watch, the hooks of the bed curtains clanged together and there in front of the bed stood a tall white-gowned figure with a bulbous belly. In the shadow of the lamplight its face had a cold and greenish glow.
General Zhao sat up and shouted fiercely at the ghost, who promptly took several steps back into the circle of lamplight. The momentary illumination of his face showed the gruesome visage of a guardian god from a folk painting. Zhao thrust out with his lance but the ghost dodged behind a wall support. Zhao thrust out his lance again, and once more the ghost dodged. It then slipped quickly into a small crack in the wall and disappeared.
As General Zhao walked back to his room he sensed he was being