A Dead Servant Sells Geese 死僕賣鵝

The Li household of Anqing Fu had a servant named Hu Baiwu, who had died several years ago. One day, setting off for the capital, Li saw someone in the street resembling him, at which he exclaimed and questioned the seller. He said: “Your humble servant is actually a ghost; not originally fated to die yet, my ethereal soul could not submit to authority, and has no option but to drift through the mortal world.” Questioned about the things he sold, he said: “These are items from this (mortal) world; every day I bring the travelling pedlar’s stall, and the money I use is also of this world.” Questioned as to his accommodation, he said: “At night I rest at the roadside, on a butcher’s board, where the guards on patrol don’t see me; those trading like this are very many, and are of course ghosts.”

It can therefore be seen that mixed among the floating population (huhai) are ghostly people; even grasping their fingers and pointing none would see this truly.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.240 (Tale 433):

死僕賣鵝

安慶府李家有僕胡百五,已死數年。一日如京,於街上見賣炙鵝者似之,呼而問。曰:「某實鬼也,本未當死,魂無歸附,未免混凡。」詰其所賣之物,曰:「即世間物,每日就鋪家行販來,所用之錢即世間錢也。」詰其止宿之地,曰:「夜則泊於街旁肉案上,巡更軍吏皆不得見,經紀買賣如某輩甚多,固鬼也。」 以是見湖海之內,人鬼混淆,持指示數人,皆不識耳。

Yuan Haowen 元好問, Chang Zhenguo 常振國 (ed), Xu Yijian zhi 續夷堅志 (Continued Records of the Listener), and Anon., Jin Xin 金心 (ed.), Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi 湖海新聞夷堅續志 (Continuation of Records of the Listener with New Items from the Lakes and Seas) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986)

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An Ox Avenges an Old Injustice 牛報宿冤

Wu Gongyuan had a secluded family residence, and once a pedlar arrived travelling alone; unable to continue through the darkness, he sought shelter there. The host was extremely attentive, but, seeing that he was from elsewhere and coveting his possessions, conspired that night with his son to rob and kill him, kicking the corpse into a flooded field below the road. He then ploughed the field himself, so nobody would know. Extremely poor for a long time, after this his situation improved somewhat. Several years later, he dreamed that the dead merchant came (back). When dawn arrived, the village head announced that an ox had given birth to a calf. Fully grown, the ox was vigorous and strong; growing extremely fond of it, Gongyuan fed and reared it diligently. When it reached full strength, he took it to plough the flooded field, but the ox suddenly became enraged, striking its master with its horns. Mouth and nose streaming blood, he died several days later. The household then fell into ruin.

Anon, Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 前2.123 (Tale 215):

牛報宿冤

吳公源有一家居僻靜,有一商販者獨行到彼,昏黑不可前,遂投宿焉。主人溫存甚至,見其為他處人,又有所齎,中夜父子相與謀殺而有其物,乃蹋其尸於路下渢田。田既自耕,人無知者。舊實貧窘,至此稍温。數年之後,夜夢死商來。及早,莊頭忽報牛生一子。牛長而健有力,甚愛之,餧飼勤至。暨壯,耕渢田,牛忽奮怒,角觸其主,囗鼻流血,數日而亡。其家遂敗。

Yuan Haowen 元好問, Chang Zhenguo 常振國 (ed), Xu Yijian zhi 續夷堅志 (Continued Records of the Listener), and Anon., Jin Xin 金心 (ed.), Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi 湖海新聞夷堅續志 (Continuation of Records of the Listener with New Items from the Lakes and Seas) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986)