Episode 209: Ghost Tenant

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I like stories in Chinese mythology about people interact with ghosts or the unknown spirits and we have talked about some before like in Ep16. how to sell a ghost. Today we will talk about a story of having a ghost tenant.

The story is from the book JiShengLu 稽神录from the Norther Song dynasty 北宋, around the year 955. In the book, it says in the place called LuLin 庐陵 there was a businessman called Tian Dacheng 田达诚. He had some fortune and was generous.




One night, he heard someone knocking on the gate. He opened the gate and found nothing. He went back. The knocking started again. He opened again and still nothing. This went on for a few times until Mr. Tian got annoyed and shouted, “is it a human or a ghost?”

After quite a while, there was sound answering, “I am not a human. I used to live in LongQuan 龙泉, but the house recently got flooded. Please let me stay here for a few days until my house is mended. ” Mr. Tian refused, “how can human live with ghosts?” The sound replied, “just temporary and it would do no harm to you. I am asking because I heard you are very generous and helpful.” It sounds like the ghost could just sneaked in the house without telling him. Mr. Tian agreed them. The sound asked, “where do you want me to stay?” Mr. Tian said, “only in the living room. ” The sound thanked him and left.

After a few days, the sound suddenly talked to Mr. Tian, “my families are settled in the living room and wouldn’t bother you or your guests. But please be careful of fire. Otherwise, if it happens, people would blame on us.” Mr. Tian was generous that he emptied the living room and just for the ghost family use.

Mr. Tian sometimes wrote poems and suddenly he heard the sound from the air, “you could write poems? I am also interested in poetry. We have something to talk about and write together.” So Mr. Tian prepared wine, paper, writing brushes and had conversations with the ghost. Mr. Tian’s family saw the wine bottle, paper, writing brushes stayed where they were while the wine was gone and the poems were written on the paper. There were more than 10 poems and they were all well written and beautifully written. Someone asked the ghost’s name, he said, “it would harm to you if I tell. But I can convey more information in my poems. ” He wrote another one, while no one could guessed the meaning.

One day, the ghost said, “I have a son who will get married to the goddess of camphor tree 樟树神女. Can we use the back yard for three days?” Mrs Tian agreed and let people to block the area with curtains. After the three days, the ghost came to thank Mr. Tian and said, “we are done and I don’t know how to thank you. Just please practice the punishment of canning on the old maid. Mr. Tian found the maid and started to punish her. The ghost said, “you can stop now. She knows she was doing something wrong.” The maid told Mr. Tian that she peaked through the curtains during the wedding and saw the guests, decorations, dishes, nothing different from normal people’s wedding.

After a few years, the ghost thanked Mr. Tian and left the house forever. For a period of time, Mr. Tian had some businesses in the place of GuangLin 广陵, and didn’t return home for a long time. His family blamed him. The ghost came and told Mr. Tian’s family, “are you blaming on him? I will go to check on him.” The next day, the ghost came back and told the family, “Mr. Tian is in Yang Zhou 扬州 and doing fine. He will be back soon. He married a new concubine there. I fired their bed when they were sleeping.” Then, the ghost left laughing.

After a few days, Mr. Tian came back and told the family what happened just like what the ghost said. Mr. Tian tried to find the ghost in Long Quan where he lived but nothing could be found.



稽神录 JiShengLu

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