Strange Tales from Liaozhai--Volume 5 by Pu SongLing

Strange Tales from Liaozhai--Volume 5 by Pu SongLing

Author:Pu SongLing
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Jain Publishing Company
Published: 2012-08-05T16:00:00+00:00

386. The Lingxian Fox

Court Historian Li, of Lingxian, noticed that the ancient vases, pots, and other antiques in his home were continually being lined up along the edges of his tables, so they were constantly in danger of toppling over. He suspected it was his servants’ doing, so he kept denouncing them angrily.

The servants responded that he was treating them unfairly, that they didn’t know anything about it, and hence he started firmly shutting and locking the door to his studio at night, but by the next day it would start up again. The servants found this rather strange, so they secretly kept watch on the room.

One night, a bright light came shining out of the room and they wondered whether thieves had broken into the studio. When two of the servants went to sneak a peek, they spotted a fox lying on a case, and they saw that the light was emanating from the eyes of the creature, brilliantly, in all four directions.

They were afraid the fox might try to get away, so they rushed in and captured it. The fox bit the flesh of their wrists like it wanted to rip it off, so the servants held onto it even more tightly, then worked jointly to tie it up. When they picked it up to examine it, they discovered that there were apparently no bones in its feet, for they shook them floppily with their hands, as if the feet were just sashes hanging there.


Court Historian Li, of Lingxian: Zhu notes that there are no details available about either Li or Lingxian (3:1293n1).

Since Li realized that the fox possessed supernatural powers, he couldn’t bring himself to have it killed; when he had it covered with a cage made of willow, it couldn’t get out, but it could still move around inside the cage. This incarceration gave them proof that the fox had indeed been guilty, and once they released it, the strange occurrences ceased altogether.


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