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a story

A story about Chinese spirits
From Classical Chinese Talkes of the Supernatural
In this story Huang Yuan wakes up one morning to find a black dog guarding his house and acting like it belonged there. So Huang took the dog hunting with him and his friends. When they saw a deer, Huang let the dog loose but the dog ran too slowly and they were not able to catch the deer.

Then the dog led them to a cave. After walking a bit inside the cave there were lots of trees in rows surrounded by a wall. The dog led Huang through the gate and there was a row of houses. He noticed that every single person in the village were attractive well dressed girls. All of the girls were occupied in some sort of amusing leisurely activity: some were playing instruments and others were playing chess.

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After reaching the northern pavilion, Huang came across three rooms, there were two girls standing guard who smiled when they saw him as though they were expecting him. They said that the black dog had brought Miao-yins groom. One kept guard outside, the other went in and a few minutes later four maids came out. They told Huang that the Lady of Supreme Purity had this message for him: I have a young daughter who has just pinned up her hair. According to a preordained decree, she should become your wife (As noted in the footnotes, at 15 girls would pin up their hair to signify their coming of age).

So Huang met Miao-yin in a magical looking room where he was impressed by her beauty and charm, they did the marriage vows and went to bed happily together that night.
In a few days the groom wanted to go home to see his family and tell them what happened for a little while. His bride is sad b/c she lets him know that men and spirits have different ways of life and that they were not meant to be together for long. She lets him go, and tells him that the fact she will never see him again makes her love him all the more. She asked him that he show his feelings for her by fasting, purifying and making sacrifice on the first day of the third month.

He was home before the end of one day after being escorted out of the cave by maids, however his memory was a little foggy. However every first day of the third month every year a curtained carriage seemed to fly past him through the air.

It shows the continued theme of a faith blending of sorts that the bride was of Taoist genealogy as mentioned in the notes. It combines factors from different faiths to bring this folk tale to life. There are Confucian themes like Filial Piety when Huang really wants to go home to see his family. This is a mystical story about marrying a fairy and it talks about how that could be magical and wonderful and feel so natural (she and Yuan went to bed as if they had known each other for years) but also reminds us that fantasy cannot be reality. To tell someone you cannot exist in both realms is bringing them back to reality in a sense.


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