An aunt of mine, Madam Wang, was on her deathbed suffering from a terrible illness, when all of a sudden she turned toward the wall and burst into hysterical laughter.
Her daughter asked her what had happened and she said: "I have just been told that my nephew on the Yuan side will win a scholarship to further his studies. That's why I'm so happy!"
At the time of her death I was only a young student, but sure enough, a year after she had passed away I came third in the county examinations and was awarded a scholarship.
Just after the death of my father, one of his close attendants, a Miss Zhu, fell gravely ill. In the midst of her delirium she called out, "I must go now! I must go! The master is calling me to join him on the roof."
Now Miss Zhu had not been told of my father's death, since everyone, although personally grief-stricken at his parting, was concerned that news of her master's death would cause Miss Zhu's own health to decline. Nevertheless, it wasn't long before she too had died. This event supports the ancients' claim that after death the soul rises to the roof. It is, I suppose, a quite plausible explanation.
One day my gatekeeper, Zhu Ming, suddenly died. But then, just as suddenly, he opened his eyes and came back to life. Hands outstretched, he asked for some ghost money: "I'll be needing money to cover my various entertainment expenses. Could you please burn some offerings now so that I can die in peace?"
In autumn 1754, during the Qianlong emperor's reign, I was stricken with a terrible illness. In the midst of my suffering I saw, kneeling at the foot of my bed, a little boy with a white face and a tasseled hat. He held up a piece of paper on which was written, "This family is well managed but it is a little on the small side."
I suspected that this was some sort of black humor that ghosts inflict upon those with serious illnesses, so I decided to have a bit of fun at his