Episode 31: Magic Tricks

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People like to watch magic shows and sometimes learn to do magic tricks themselves. Today we can explain the magic tricks using science. However, I don’t know how to explain magic tricks in mythology. The story is from the book TaiPingGuangJi太平广记.

There was a girl named HuMeier胡媚儿 in the time of ZhenYuan贞元 in Tang Dynasty. She usually did some tricks in the markets in the place Yangzhou扬州 for a living. Nobody knew where she was from and her tricks were kind of weird and different from anyone had seen before. After ten days in the market, more and more audiences got together to see her performance and she could earn thousands of thousands of money. One morning, she brought a glass bottle about half a liter. It was totally transparent and empty. She put the bottle on a sheet and said to the audiences that,” I would be happy if I can earn enough money to fill the bottle today.” The neck of the bottle was around the size of a reed. Somebody put coins worth 100 into the bottle, ding! The money went into the bottle however when you saw them the coins looked like the size of rice. Audiences were shocked and somebody put 1000 coins , 10,000, 100,000, 200,000 coins into the bottle. Same thing happened. They looked like rice. Somebody even put horses and donkeys into the bottle, which not only went through the neck of the bottle, they looked like the size of flies in the bottle yet they moved as usual.


Later, there were two officials in charge of taxes passing by with 10 carts full of products. They stopped to watch the show and were excited to try as well. Hu Meier the magician tilted the bottle and shouted something, the 10 carts moved into the bottle in order and they looked like ants in the bottle and disappeared. Hu Meier then suddenly jumped into the bottle. Until then, people just realized she was gone and tried to break the bottle to catch her. However, nothing could they find in the bottle. After that nobody where she went. In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin told his dad he could do this magic trick to make $100 bill disappear and for some reason his dad didn’t go for the trick.

About a mouth or so later, somebody said they saw Hu Meier leading the carts to the place DongPing东平. At that time Li Shidao李师 道 was a general there. Just to explain here Li Shidao was a leader of rebellion army. So this magician lady basically used her tricks to help the rebellion army.

I am still curious in magic shows today when the magicians make people disappeared, do they go to the other world? Maybe next time I would volunteer on the stage to figure the truth.



李师 道Li Shidao

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