Author: Translated by Yang Hsien-Yi And Gladys Yang
About: This book includes thirty-five stories about not being afraid of
ghosts which are taken from ancient Chinese collections of tales and
anecdotes. They show the adroitness and courage of Chinese people in
ancient times who dared to defy ghosts. Today everyone knows there are
no such things as ghosts. But while there are no demons like those
described in these tales, there are many things which resemble them
imperialism, reactionaries, difficulties and obstacles in work, for
example. These stories, therefore, may be considered in the nature of
allegories and satires.
Additional: This fascinating work of folklore has the strangest preface. It was explained us that, in fact, the Chinese government of the early '60s was much concerned with attachments to the "Old Way," particularly things like ancestor worship. Hence, this marvelous collection with numerous delightful illustrations has the oddest introduction (in its entirety.)
Tsui Min-chueh of Poling was an honest lad who feared neither gods
nor devils. When he was ten sudden illness carried him off, but
eighteen years later he came to life again. He related that he had been
taken by mistake, but after one year by dint of hard argument had
obtained his release.
The king of hell said, “You should be sent back by rights. But since
your corpse has rotted away, how can you return to it?”
Still Tsui pleaded to be sent back.
“You can be reborn as an infant,” said the king. “And we shall grant
you double official honours.”
Tsui still refused, however.
Unable to refute him, the king was in a quandary for a long time. So
when Tsui demanded that his wrong be righted, the king was forced to
send to the western regions for a life-restoring drug. After several
years the messenger returned with the medicine, which was smeared on
the skeleton; and soon flesh covered all except the soles of the feet,
where the bones still showed.
Then Tsui appeared to his family repeatedly in dreams and said, “I
have come back to life.”
They opened the coffin, found him breathing, and in a month or more
nursed him back to health. While in the nether regions Tsui had looked
up the records and, having learned that he would serve as prefect ten
times, he sought out posts which were reputed unlucky and treated the
ghosts and spirits there with contempt. And no ill ever befell him.
Some time later he was appointed Prefect of Hsuchow. His predecessors
had never dared to stay in the main hall, for tradition had it that
this was the old residence of Hsiang Yu. Tsui gave orders on his
arrival to have the hall cleared for the transaction of business. After
a few days, he heard a loud shouting in mid-air, “I am the Conqueror of
Western Chu! Who is Tsui Min-chueh that he dares to move into my
Tsui remarked calmly, “What a scoundrel this Hsiang Yu is! In his
life he failed to win the kingdom in the west from the First Emperor of
Han. Now after death he is disputing with me over a tumble-down house.
He killed himself at Wuchiang and his head was carted ten thousand
li away. Even if he manages to haunt this place, there is nothing
to be afraid of.”
Then utter silence fell, and the hall ceased to be haunted.
Still later, when Tsui served as Prefect of Huachow, early one night
a man near the shrine of the god of Mount Hua heard a tumult in the
temple. Going to look, he saw a great display of torches and several
hundred soldiers drawn up to await orders; then someone announced that
they were there to welcome the bride of the god's third son, and they
were told, “Prefect Tsui is in this district. Mind you don't bring high
winds and torrential rain.”
“We would not dare!” they answered. With that they trooped out and