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Painted Skin

There was once a young man who had fallen under the influence of a beautiful young girl, when he met a Taoist priest in the street, who started on seeing him, and said that his face showed signs that he had been bewitched. Hurrying home, the young man found his door locked; and on creeping softly up to the window and looking in, he saw a hideous fox devil, with a green face and jagged teeth like a saw, spreading a human skin on the bed, and painting it with a paint-brush. The devil then threw aside the brush, and giving the skin a shake-out, just as you would a coat, cast it over its shoulders, when lo! there stood the girl.

The young man was so frighted that he ran away as fast as he could to the priest. The priest then engaged in terrible conflict with the fox devil. Finally she became a dense column of smoke curling up from the ground, and then the priest took from his vest an uncorked gourd, and threw it right into the midst of the smoke. A sucking noise was heard, and the whole column was drawn into the gourd; after which the priest corked it up closely, and carried it away with him. (H. A. Giles)

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