Yu Shaozhi 庾紹之

Yu Shaozhi, known in his childhood as Daofu, who lived in Xinye under the Jin, served as Prefectural Chief of Xiangdong and had a strong sentimental attachment to his maternal cousin, Zong Xie of Nanyang. Shao[zhi] fell ill and died at the end of the Yuanxing era (402-5 CE), but during Yixi (405-19) he suddenly manifested and visited Xie. In appearance and clothing he seemed just as he had in life, except that both of his feet were in shackles. On his arrival, he removed the shackles, placed them on the ground and sat down. Xie asked him how he had managed to return and visit, to which he replied: “I received a temporary pass to return, and because of my fondness for the gentleman, came to call.” Xie enquired about the affairs of spirits and deities, but the replies were always vague and sketchy, not particularly coherent. He would only say: “One should be diligent in advancement, and must never take life. If you are unable fully to break off, you must not slaughter cattle, and, when eating meat, avoid swallowing the heart.” Xie asked: “Do the five organs[1] therefore differ from meat?” He replied: “The heart is the secret residence of the spirit, so the crime is especially severe.” He then asked after his relatives, so they discussed worldly affairs. Towards the end, he again requested wine. Xie was then in possession of prickly ash wine,[2] so laid this out for Shaozhi. The latter reached for his cup but did not drink, remarking that there was a dogwood spirit. Xie asked: “Is it evil?” He replied: “The lower ranks all fear it; I am not alone in this.” Shaozhi’s voice and character was loud and strong, and as he said this there was little difference from his character in life. After a short while, Xie’s son Siuzhi approached. When Shao heard the sound of clogs, he took on a look of great fear. He told Xie: “I have overstepped the limits of my vitality and can afford to stay no longer. I will only be parted from the gentleman for three years.” He then bowed to Xie and rose, vanishing as soon as he had crossed the threshold. Xie later served as Permanent Gentleman-Attendant, and indeed died after three years.

From Mingxiangji.

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, 321.2547:

庾紹之

晉新埜庾紹之。小字道覆。湘東太守。與南陽宗協。中表昆弟。情好綢繆。紹元興末病亡。義熙中。忽見形詣協。形貌衣服。具如平生。而兩腳著械。既至。脫械置地而坐。協問何由得來顧。答云。暫蒙假歸。與卿親好。故相過也。協問鬼神之事。言輒漫略。不甚諧對。唯云。宜勤精進。不可殺生。若不能都斷。可勿宰牛。食肉之時。勿啗物心。協云。五臟與肉。乃有異耶。答曰。心者藏神之宅也。其罪尤重。具問親戚。因談世事。末復求酒。協時與茱萸酒。因為設之。酒至杯不飲。云有茱萸氣。協曰。為惡耶。答云。下官皆畏之。非獨我也。紹之為人。語聲高壯。比言倫時。不異恒日。有頃。協兒邃之來。紹聞屐聲。極有懼色。謂協曰。生氣見陵。不復得住。與卿三年別耳。因貫械而起。出戶便滅。協後為正員郎。果三年而卒。出冥祥記


[1] I.e., the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys.

[2] On this plant, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum_ailanthoides.

Zhang Kai 張闓

In the second year Jianwu,[1] Zhang Kai of [lacuna] City, was returning from the fields to his residence when he saw someone lying by the roadside. When asked about this, he replied: “I’ve injured my foot, and cannot go any further. My family is in Nanchu and I have no way of letting them know. Kai felt sorry for him. Having a cart following carrying some things, he discarded these to allow him to ride. When they arrived at the house, however, the man didn’t make the slightest show of gratitude, but rather told Kai: “In truth there was no injury, it was just a kind of test.” Kai was furious, and said: “What kind of person are you, who dares to toy with me?” He replied: “I’m just a spirit. I have been tasked with recruiting an envoy to Beitai (i.e., Wutai Shan?), and, seeing that the gentleman is senior to me, could not bear to simply take you. I thus feigned illness and lay down by the roadside. Abandoning your luggage so that I could be carried is an act that has truly moved me by its sincerity. Nonetheless, you should accept your fate and come with me. I have no discretion in the matter, so what can be done?” Kai was shocked, and begged the spirit to allow him to stay, making offerings of wine and a suckling pig. The spirit feasted with him, and both wept as he begged the spirit again to save him. The spirit then asked: “Is there anyone who shares the gentleman’s given and courtesy names?” Kai told it: “There’s a man from Qiao called Huang Kai.” “The gentleman should call on him,” The spirit told him: “I will follow.” When Kai reached the house, the owner came out to see him. The spirit waved a red cloth above his head, and as the man turned pierced his heart with a needle, disappearing before the owner could detect it. It told Kai: “The gentleman will be a senior official, and, your servant cherishing that, therefore broke laws to help you. The ways of the nether world are secret and mysterious, and this matter should not be divulged.” After Kai had left, the owner of the other house suffered terrible heart pain, and by midnight he had [2547] passed away. Kai lived to be sixty, and attained the office of Glorious Grand Master.

From Zhenyilu.

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, 321.2546-47:

張闓

□城張闓。以建武二年。從野還宅。見一人臥道側。問之。云。足病。不能復去。家在南楚。無所告訴。闓憫之。有後車載物。棄以載之。既達家。此人了無感色。且語闓曰。向實不病。聊相試耳。闓大怒曰。君是何人。而敢弄我也。答曰。我是鬼耳。承北臺使來相收錄。見君長者。不忍相取。故佯為病臥道側。向乃捐物見載。誠銜此意。然被命而來。不自由。奈何。闓驚。請留鬼。以豚酒祀之。鬼相為酹享。於是流涕。固請求救。鬼曰。有與君同名字者否。闓曰。有僑人黃闓。鬼曰。君可詣之。我當自往。闓到家。主人出見。鬼以赤摽摽其頭。因回手。以小鈹刺其心。主人覺。鬼便出。謂闓曰。君有貴相。某為惜之。故虧法以相濟。然神道幽密。不可宣泄。闓去後。主人暴心痛。夜半便 [2547] 死。闓年六十。位至光祿大夫。出甄異錄


[1] This could potentially refer to 26 CE, during the reign of Guangwudi 光武帝 Guang (r. 25-57), of the Eastern Han; 318 CE, under Yuandi 元帝 Yuan Di (r. 317-322), of the Eastern Jin 東晉; or 495, under Mingdi 明帝 Ming Di (r. 494-498) of the Southern Qi 南齊.

A Jiangzhou Clerk 江州錄事

Under the Jin, when Huan Baonu[1] was serving in Jiangzhou, there was a copyist named Gan, whose home was below the Linchuan prefectural offices. When, aged thirteen, Gan’s son fell ill and died, he buried the boy amid a crowd of tombs to the east of his house. Ten days later, he suddenly heard the sound of drumming, singing and music coming from the eastern road. Perhaps a hundred people passed along it to reach the Gan household and asked: “Is the copyist there? We came to call upon him, and his virtuous son is also with us.” Only voices were heard; no shapes of bodies were visible. He then brought out several earthenware wine jars and handed them over. They tipped and vanished, and then the two jars returned, both quite empty, and he heard the sound of drumbeats start up again. The Linchuan prefectural chief said that this had been a trick committed by someone, and that they must come forward and identify themselves, but after time passed none had. When Gan was heard to speak of the affair he was very alarmed.

From Youminglu.

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, 319.2527:

江州錄事

晉桓豹奴為江州時。有甘錄事者。家在臨川郡治下。兒年十三。遇病死。埋著家東羣冢之間。旬日。忽聞東路有打鼓倡樂聲。可百許人。徑到甘家。問錄事在否。故來相詣。賢子亦在此。止聞人聲。亦不見其形也。乃出數甖酒與之。俄傾失去。兩甖皆空。始聞有鼓聲。臨川太守謂是人戲。必來詣己。既而寂爾不到。聞甘說之。大驚。出幽明錄


[1] This seems to be Huan Si 桓嗣, courtesy name Gongzu 恭祖, childhood name Baonu 豹奴, grandson of Huan Yi 桓彝 (276-328 CE). His brief biography is found at Jinshu 74.1953.

Wang Zhaozong 王肇宗

Wang Zhaozong from Taiyuan died from an illness, and appeared after his death to speak to his mother, Liu, and his wife, Han. He asked his mother for wine, so she took up a glass and passed it to him. He said: “Good wine.” He then addressed his wife: “Separation from your humble servant will only last three years.” Accepting this his wife eventually became ill. She said: “The virtue of husband-and-wife burial was often difficult for the ancients to achieve. Why would those who are fortunate enough to survive reject this?” She then refused to accept medicine and perished.

From Shuyiji.

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, 318.2517:

王肇宗

太原王肇宗病亡。亡後形見。於其母劉及妻韓共語。就母索酒。舉杯與之。曰。好酒。語妻曰。與卿三年別耳。及服終妻疾。曰。同穴之義。古之所難。幸者如存。豈非至願。遂不服藥而歿。出述異記

Huan Hui 桓回

Huan Hui was from Jijiu in Bingzhou, and during the third year of Liu Cong’s Jianyuan era (316 CE?), he encountered an old man on the road. Questioned, he said: “There is a musician called Cheng Ping. What is his occupation now? He and I are old friends and I’d like to return to our philosophical discussions, examining the filial and the virtuous. If the gentleman should see him please pass on this information.” Hui asked his name, to which he said: “I am Ma Zixuan of Wu Prefecture.” On finishing speaking he vanished. When Hui saw Ping, he told him all of this. Ping sighed, and said: “In the past there was such a person, but he died almost fifty years ago.” When the Gentleman of the Inner Court Xun Yanshu heard this, he composed a prayer and ordered Ping to lay out wine and food, and to perform prayers on the road.

From Yiyuan.

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, 318.2515:

桓回

并州祭酒桓回。以劉聰建元三年。於途遇一老父。問之云。有〈有原作是。據明鈔本改。〉樂工成憑。今何職。我與其人有舊。為致清談。得察孝廉。君若相見。令知消息。回問姓字。曰。我吳郡麻子軒也。言畢而失。回見憑。具宣其意。憑歎曰。昔有此人。計去世近五十年。中郎荀彥舒聞之。為造祝文。令憑設酒飯。祀於通衢之上。出異苑

Dongfang Shuo 東方朔

[2840] When Emperor Wu of Han (156-87 BCE, r. 141-87 BCE) travelled east, he arrived at the Hangu Pass, where he found a thing in the road, its body several zhang in length (a zhang is c. 3.33m), and like an elephant ox in shape, with dark eyes and a sparking energy, its four feet buried in the earth, moving around but not travelling. The various officials were very alarmed, but Dongfang Shuo[1] requested wine to pour upon it. He poured out several dozen hu, and it disappeared. The emperor asked why, and he replied: “This is called a you (i.e., a ‘sorrow’); it is born of suffering. This must have been the site of a Qin prison, or, if not that, a site where prisoners were gathered and moved. As wine removes sorrows, we were able to make it disappear.” The emperor said: “Only an expert in the natural world could deal with this.”

From Soushenji.

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), viii, 359.2839-40:

東方朔

[2840] 漢武帝東遊。至函谷關。有物當道。其身長數丈。其狀象牛。青眼而曜精。四足入土。動而不徙。百官驚懼。東方朔乃請酒灌之。灌之數十斛而消。帝問其故。答曰。此名憂。患之所生也。此必是秦之獄地。不然。罪人徙作地聚。夫酒忘憂。故能消之也。帝曰。博物之士。至於此乎。出搜神記

The Soushenji version of this tale is slightly different to that transmitted via the Taiping guangji:

Wine Dispels Suffering 酒消患

When Emperor Wu of Han (156-87 BCE, r. 141-87 BCE) travelled east, before he emerged from the Hangu Pass, he found a thing in the road, its body several zhang in length, and like an elephant ox in shape, with dark eyes and bright eyeballs, its four feet buried in the earth, moving around but not travelling. The various officials were terrified, but Dongfang Shuo[1] requested wine to pour upon it. He poured out several dozen hu, and it disappeared. The emperor asked why, and he replied: “This is called a huan (i.e., a ‘suffering’); it is born of sorrow. This must have been the site of a Qin prison, or, if not that, then a site where prisoners were gathered and moved. As wine removes sorrows, we were able to make it disappear.” The emperor said: “Ah! Only an expert in the natural world could deal with this!”

Gan Bao 干寶, Soushenji 搜神記 (In Search of the Supernatural: The Written Record) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979), 11.131 (Tale 270):

酒消患

漢武帝東遊,未出函谷關,有物當道,身長數丈,其狀象牛,青眼而曜睛,四足入土,動而不徙。百官驚駭。東方朔乃請以酒灌之。灌之數十斛而消。帝問其故。答曰:「此名為患,憂之所生也。此必是秦之獄地。不然,則罪人徙作地聚。夫酒忘憂,故能消之也。」帝曰:「吁!博物之士,至於此乎!」

[1] This is Dongfang Shuo 東方朔 (c.160-c.93 BCE, courtesy name Manqian 曼倩), a famous writer and Daoist of the Former Han court. On him see http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Han/personsdongfangshuo.html; Hanshu 65.2841-74.

Wang Fan 王樊

The Dunhuang shilu reports: When Wang Fan died, a thief opened his tomb and saw Wang Fan playing chupu (a form of boardgame) with someone; he rewarded the robber with wine, and the thief drank it in terror, watching someone lead a bronze horse out of the tomb. That night a divinity arrived at the city gate, announcing that it was the envoy of Wang Fan, that someone had opened his tomb, marking his lips by swallowing dark wine, and that, at dawn, when that person returned, they could verify this and capture him. When the thief entered the city, those on the gate therefore bound and questioned him, and it was just as the divinity had said. From Duyizhi.

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, 317.2507:

王樊

敦煌實錄云。王樊卒。有盜開其冢。見樊與人樗蒲。以酒賜盜者。盜者惶怖。飲之。見有人牽銅馬出冢者。夜有神人至城門。自云。我王樊之使。今有發冢者。以酒墨其脣訖。旦至。可以驗而擒之。盜即入城。城門者乃縛詰之。如神所言。出獨異志

The Zhonghua shuju edition of Du yi zhi presents a very slightly different version of the story:

Wang Fan’s Tomb 王樊冢

The Dunhuang shilu reports: When Wang Fan died, a thief opened his tomb and saw Wang Fan playing chupu (a form of boardgame) with someone; he rewarded the robber with wine, and the thief drank it in terror, watching someone lead a bronze horse out of the tomb. That night a divinity arrived at the city gate, announcing that it was the envoy of Wang Fan, that someone had opened his tomb, marking his lips by swallowing dark wine, and that, at dawn, when that person returned, they could verify this and capture him. When the thief entered the city, those on the gate therefore bound and questioned him, and it was just as the divinity had said.

Li Rong 李冗, Du yi zhi, 獨異志 (Outstanding Fantastic Stories), 上1.8 (Tale 61):

王樊冢

《燉煌實錄》云:王樊卒,有盗開其冢,見王樊與人樗蒲,以酒賜盗者,盗者惶怖飲之,見有人牽銅馬出冢者。夜有神至城門,自言是王樊使,今有人發冢,以酒墨其唇,但至,可以驗而擒之。盗既入城,城門者乃縛詰之,如神言。

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)

Wu Tao 鄔濤

Wu Tao was from Runan. He had skill and knowledge of ancient writings and was committed to the arts of the Way. While travelling he stopped temporarily at the Yiwu County guesthouse in Wuzhou. After more than a month, suddenly a girl appeared, with two serving maids arriving at night.[1] One of the maids came forward and told him: “This young lady is surnamed Wang.” That evening she turned and looked at the gentleman. Tao looked at her, and she was extremely beautiful. He thought, ‘this is the daughter of a great noble’, but did not dare speak. The lady Wang smiled, and said: “The esteemed scholar does not value wine or beauty; how can a mere concubine gain his trust?” Tao then rose and bowed to her, saying: “Such lowly scholars would not dare direct their gaze thus.” The lady Wang ordered a maid to bring her clothing and utensils to Tao’s bedchamber, lighting bright candles and laying out wine and food. They drank several rounds, and then lady Wang rose and addressed Tao: “Your servant is a young orphan without anyone to turn to, and would like to serve the gentleman at his pillow and mat. Would that be acceptable?” Tao initially refused in his humility, but then relented and permitted it in his sincerity. The lady Wang departed at dawn and arrived at dusk, and this continued for several months.

Yang Jingxiao, a Daoist of Tao’s acquaintance, visited and stayed at the residence. On seeing that Tao’s countenance had altered, he advised: “The gentleman has been deluded by spirits and demons. This must be broken off, or death will follow.” Tao questioned him about this in alarm, and then related the whole story. Jingxiao told him: “This is a spirit.” He then provided two amulets, one to attach to clothing, and the other to be fixed above the gate. He said: “When this spirit arrives, she will become very angry. Be careful not to speak to her.” Tao accepted these instructions. When the young woman arrived that night, she saw the token above the gate, let fly a string of curses, and departed, saying: “Remove that tomorrow, or suffer great misfortune.” Tao called on Jingxiao the next day and told him all about it. Jingxiao told him: “When she returns tonight, you should sprinkle her with this water on which I have cast a spell. That will surely bring things to an end.” Tao returned carrying the water. That night, when the woman returned, she was extremely sad and angry. Tao then sprinkled her with the water Jingxiao had treated. Her visits then ceased.

From Jiyiji.

[1] With thanks to Ofer Waldman for the improved translation here.

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, 347.2747:

鄔濤

鄔濤者。汝南人。精習墳典。好道術。旅泊婺州義烏縣館。月餘。忽有一女子。侍二婢夜至。一婢進曰。此王氏小娘子也。今夕顧降於君。濤視之。乃絕色也。謂是豪貴之女。不敢答。王氏笑曰。秀才不以酒色於懷。妾何以奉託。濤乃起拜曰。凡陋之士。非敢是望。王氏令侍婢施服翫於濤寢室。炳以銀燭。又備酒食。飲數巡。王氏起謂濤曰。妾少孤無託。今願事君子枕席。將為可乎。濤遜辭而許。恩意欵洽。而王氏曉去夕至。如此數月。濤所知道士楊景霄至舘訪之。見濤色有異。曰。公為鬼魅所惑。宜斷之。不然死矣。濤聞之驚。以其事具告。景霄曰。此乃鬼也。乃與符二道。一施衣帶。一置門上。曰。此鬼來。當有怨恨。慎勿與語。濤依法受之。女子是夕至。見符門上。大罵而去。曰。來日速除之。不然生禍。濤明日訪景霄。具言之。景霄曰。今夜再來。可以吾呪水洒之。此必絕矣。濤持水歸。至夜。女子復至。悲恚之甚。濤乃以景霄呪水洒之。於是遂絕。出集異記

The Jiankang Musician 建康樂人

In Jiankang there was a musician. One evening he went to the market, and saw two drivers, who told him: “Assistant Judge Lu summons you.” He departed following them, and came to a large residence, furnished with great magnificence. There were more than ten guests in all, generously provided with wine. They were only served drinks, however, without any food. Moreover, the wine did not reach the musician. When dawn came all dispersed. The musician was extremely tired, so lay down on a bed outside the gates. When he awoke, he was out in the countryside, next to a large tomb. He asked the villagers about it, and was told: “Legend has it that this is the tomb of Assistant Judge Lu. It is not clear what era he lived in.”

From Jishenlu.

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), viii, 353.2798:

建康樂人

建康有樂人。日晚如市。見二僕夫云。陸判官召。隨之而去。至大宅。陳設甚嚴。賓客十餘人。皆善酒。惟飲酒而不設食。酒亦不及樂人。向曙而散。樂人困甚。因臥門外牀上。既寤。乃在草間。旁有大塚。問其里人。云。相傳陸判官之塚。不知何時人也。出稽神錄

Magistrate Li Of Wangjiang 望江李令

Magistrate Li of Wangjiang lived in Shuzhou after his dismissal from office. He had two sons, who were extremely intelligent. The magistrate once went to drink wine, returning at sunset. A hundred paces short of his house, he saw his two sons coming to greet him. On reaching him, they grabbed him between them and gave him a beating. The magistrate was alarmed and angry. He let out a great cry, but it was a place far from other people, so nobody knew of his plight. They kept hitting him as he went, but, just as he was about to reach his home his two sons left him and departed. When he arrived at the gate, however, his two sons were just arriving to meet him below the hall. When he questioned them they both said that they had never stepped outside the gate. A little over a month later, the magistrate again held a drinking party, but this time told his host the whole story, asking if he could stay the night as he did not dare return. His sons, however, fearing that he would return at dusk and be beaten again, set out together to meet him. Halfway there, however, they saw their father, who asked them, angrily: “Why would you go out at night?” He then had his attendants beat them, before letting them go. The next day, the magistrate returned, and was even more shocked at these events. Before several months had passed, father and sons were all dead.

People of the region say: ‘In Shu there are mountain spirits, and they excel in such cruelty, as they are followers of Liqiu.’[1]

From Jishenlu.

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), viii, 353.2797:

望江李令

望江李令者。罷秩居舒州。有二子。甚聰慧。令嘗飲酒暮歸。去家數百步。見二子來迎。即共禽而毆之。令驚大怒。大呼。而遠方人絕。竟無知者。且行且毆。將至家。二子皆却走而去。及入門。二子復迎于堂下。問之。皆云未嘗出門。後月餘。令復飲酒於所親家。因具白其事。請留宿。不敢歸。而其子恐其及暮歸。復為所毆。即俱往迎之。及中途。見其父。怒曰。何故暮出。即使從者擊之。困而獲免。明日令歸。益駭其事。不數月。父子皆卒。郡人云。舒有山鬼。善為此厲。蓋黎丘之徒也。出稽神錄

[1] Translation revised with generous help from Ofer Waldman. Thanks Ofer!