The Commander of Huaixi 淮西軍將

At the end of the Yuanhe period (806-20 CE), there was a commander of Huaixi, who was sent to Bianzhou, and stopped at a courier station on the way. Late at night, when he was reaching deep sleep, he suddenly awoke to find something pressing heavily onto him. The general, well-trained and strong, leapt up in alarm and began to wrestle with it, after which the unidentified thing withdrew, and the general succeeded in wresting a leather bag from its hand. The ghost begged and implored with great bitterness from the darkness, so the commander addressed it: “If you tell me what it is, I will give it back.” The spirit said, after a long time, “This is a bag of surplus qi.” The commander then picked up a brick and struck out with it, at which the voice was silenced. The bag held several sheng (these are about a litre each), its contents were deep red in colour, and looked like lotus-root fibres; when carried in daylight it cast no shadow.

Taken from Youyang zazu.

Li Fang 李昉, et al., Taiping guangji 太平廣記 (Extensive Gleanings from the Era of Great Harmony), 10 vols (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1961), vii, 345.2733:

淮西軍將

元和末,有淮西軍將,使於汴州,止驛中。夜久,眠將熟,忽覺一物壓己,軍將素健,驚起,與之角力,其物遂退,因奪得手中革囊。鬼闇中哀祈甚苦,軍將謂曰:「汝語我物名,我當相還。」鬼良久曰:「此蓄氣袋耳。」軍將乃舉甓擊之,語遂絕。其囊可盛數升,絳色,如藕絲,攜於日中無影。出《酉陽雜俎》

 

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Aunty Wang’s Daigan Pole Tricks 戴竿伎王大娘

At the court of Dezong (of the Tang, r. 779-805 CE), there was a Daigan acrobat, a married woman from Sanyuan, who could balance eighteen people on top of her head and walk.

Li Rong 李冗, Du yi zhi, 獨異志 (Outstanding Fantastic Stories), 上1.4 (Tale 27):

戴竿伎王大娘

德宗朝,有戴竿三原婦人王大娘,首戴十八人而行。

Li Rong 李冗, Du yi zhi, 獨異志 (Outstanding Fantastic Stories) in Du yi zhi, Xuanshi Zhi 獨異志,宣室志 (Outstanding Fantastic Stories, Stories from the Chamber of Dissemination), edited by Zhang Yongqin 张永钦 and Hou Zhiming 侯志明 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983)

Lu Ban Builds A Stone Bridge 魯般造石橋

To the south of Zhaozhou city there is a stone bridge, which was constructed by Lu Ban (c.507–444 BCE), and is extremely robust, that is to say from ancient times until today is quite without later rebuilding. It happened that the prefecture had a spirit surnamed Zhang. Passing the bridge while riding on a donkey, Zhang laughed and said: “This stone of this bridge is strong and sound; if I cross can it survive without shaking?” He then mounted the bridge, and the structure swayed as if it would collapse. Lu Ban stood beneath it and steadied the structure with his hands, returning it to its former sturdiness. To this day traces of the hooves, tail and head of the donkey ridden by Zhang are visible atop the bridge, and prints of Lu Ban’s hands can be seen below. This has been passed down from ancient times, but others have not recorded it in writing, so it is set down here.

Anon., Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.218 (tale 387)

魯般造石橋

趙州城南有石橋一座,乃魯般所造,極堅固,意謂古今無第二手矣。忽其州有神姓張,騎驢而過橋,張神笑曰:「(明刻本此處多「人言」二字。)此橋石堅而柱壯,如我過能無震動乎?」於是登橋,而橋搖動若傾狀。魯般在下以兩手托定,而堅壯如故。至今橋上則有張神所乘驢之頭尾及四足痕,橋下則有魯般兩手痕。此古老相傳,他文未載,故及之。

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).