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Adulteration Punished.

AT Chinling there lived a seller of spirits, who was in the habit of adulterating his liquor with water and a certain drug, the effect of which was that even a few cups would make the strongest headed man as drunk as a jellyfish. Thus his shop acquired a reputation for having a good article on sale, and by degrees he became a rich man. One morning, on getting up, he found a fox lying drunk alongside of the spirit vat; and tying its legs together, he was about to fetch a knife, when suddenly the fox waked up, and began pleading for its life, promising in return to do anything the spirit merchant might require. The latter then released the animal, which instantly changed into the form of a human being. Now, at that very time, the wife of a neighbour was suffering under fox influence, and this recently transformed animal confessed to the spirit merchant that it was he who had been troubling her. Thereupon the spirit merchant, who knew the lady in question to be a celebrated beauty, begged his fox friend to secretly introduce him to her. After raising some objections, the fox at length consented, and conducted the spirit merchant to a cave, where he gave him a suit of serge clothes, which he said had belonged to his late brother, and in which he told him he could easily go. The merchant put them on, and returned home, when to his great delight he observed that no one could see him, but that if he changed into his ordinary clothes everybody could see him as before. Accordingly he set off with the fox for his neighbour’s house; and, when they arrived, the first thing they beheld was a charm on the wall, like a great wriggling dragon. At this the fox was greatly alarmed, and said, “That scoundrel of a priest! I can’t go any farther.” He then ran off home, leaving the spirit merchant to proceed by himself. The latter walked quietly in to find that the dragon on the wall was a real one, and preparing to fly at him, so he too turned, and ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. The fact was that the family had engaged a priest to drive away the fox influence; and he, not being able to go at the moment himself, gave them this charm to stick up on the wall. The following day the priest himself came, and, arranging an altar, proceeded to exorcise the fox. All the villagers crowded round to see, and among others was the spirit merchant, who, in the middle of the ceremony, suddenly changed colour, and hurried out of the front door, where he fell on the ground in the shape of a fox, having his clothes still hanging about his arms and legs. The bystanders would have killed him on the spot, but his wife begged them to spare him; and the priest let her take the fox home, where in a few days it died.

金陵乙

金陵賣酒人某乙,每釀成,投水而置毒焉;即善飲者,不過數盞,便醉如泥。以此得「中山」之名,富致巨金。早起,見一狐醉臥槽邊,縛其四肢。方將覓刃,狐已醒,哀曰:「勿見害,諸如所求。」遂釋之,輾轉已化為人。時巷中孫氏,其長婦患狐為祟,因問之,答云:「是即我也。」乙窺婦娣尤美,求狐攜往。狐難之。乙固求之。狐邀乙去,入一洞中,取褐衣授之,曰:「此先兄所遺,著之當可去。」既服而歸,家人皆不之見;襲常衣而出,始見之。大喜,與狐同詣孫氏家。見牆上貼巨符,畫蜿蜒如龍。狐懼曰:「和尚大惡,我不往矣!」遂去。乙逡巡近之,則真龍盤壁上,昂首欲飛。大懼亦出。蓋孫覓一異域僧,為之厭勝,授符先歸,僧猶未至也。次日,僧來,設壇作法。鄰人共觀之,乙亦雜處其中。忽變色急奔,狀如被捉;至門外,踣地化為狐,四體猶著人衣。將殺之。妻子叩請。僧命牽去,日給飲食,數月尋斃。

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