During the reign of the Kangxi emperor, the prefect of Shidai was a man by the name of Wang Yixin. He was a very close friend of a man called Lin. After his death Lin became the earth god for Shidai, and the two friends, though separated by death, would get together every evening and chat late into the night, just as they had before.
On one of these occasions the earth god whispered secretively to Wang, "Your family faces a great calamity. I had to tell you. Though I'm pretty sure I'll be punished by the Powers That Be for leaking confidential information."
Wang begged for details of the nature of this calamity and finally he was told, "Your mother will be struck by lightning."
Wang was flabbergasted and pleaded with his friend to help prevent this misfortune. Wang received the reply:
"This is a debt of karma that your mother has accumulated during her previous lives. Besides, how can I help when my rank is so low?"
Wang begged and pleaded tearfully for any idea that might prevent this calamity.
Eventually the earth god acquiesced. "There is one possibility. You must behave in the most filial manner possible. You should also increase your mother's belongings and food ten times. That includes everything she wears, eats, and drinks as part of her normal daily life.
"If you do this, she will consume her allocation of life's luxuries in a minimum period and will thus reach the point of death more quickly. If she dies in this way, she will go peacefully. The thunder god won't be able to do anything to her," the earth god assured him.
Wang did as his friend advised, and surely enough his mother died within a few years.
Three years after her death there was a torrential downpour, and in a flash the thunder god appeared right inside Wang's house. He paced aggressively around the coffin containing the body of Wang's mother,