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The Invisible Priest.

MR. HAN was a gentleman of good family, on very intimate terms with a skilful Taoist priest and magician named Tan, who, when sitting amongst other guests, would suddenly become invisible. Mr. Han was extremely anxious to learn this art, but Tan refused all his entreaties, “Not,” as he said, “because I want to keep the secret for myself, but simply as a matter of principle. To teach the superior man would be well enough; others, however, would avail themselves of such knowledge to plunder their neighbours. There is no fear that you would do this, though even you might be tempted in certain ways.” Mr. Han, finding all his efforts unavailing, flew into a great passion, and secretly arranged with his servants that they should give the magician a sound beating; and, in order to prevent his escape through the power of making himself invisible, he had his threshing floor covered with a fine ash dust, so that at any rate his footsteps would be seen and the servants could strike just above them. He then inveigled Tan to the appointed spot, which he had no sooner reached than Han’s servants began to belabour him on all sides with leathern thongs. Tan immediately became invisible, but his footprints were clearly seen as he moved about hither and thither to avoid the blows, and the servants went on striking above them until finally he succeeded in getting away. Mr. Han then went home, and subsequently Tan reappeared and told the servants that he could stay there no longer, adding that before he went he intended to give them all a feast in return for many things they had done for him. And diving into his sleeve he brought forth a quantity of delicious meats and wines which he spread out upon the table, begging them to sit down and enjoy themselves. The servants did so, and one and all of them got drunk and insensible; upon which Tan picked each of them up and stowed them away in his sleeve. When Mr. Han heard of this, he begged Tan to perform some other trick; so Tan drew upon the wall a city, and knocking at the gate with his hand it was instantly thrown open. He then put inside it his wallet and clothes, and stepping through the gateway himself, waved his hand and bade Mr. Han farewell. The city gates were now closed, and Tan vanished from their sight. It was said that he appeared again in Ch‘ingchou, where he taught little boys to paint a circle on their hands, and, by dabbing this on to another person’s face or clothes, to imprint the circle on the place thus struck without a trace of it being left behind upon the hand.

單道士

韓公子,邑世家。有單道士,工作劇,公子愛其術,以為座上客。單與人行坐,輒忽不見。公子欲傳其法,單不肯。公子固懇之。單曰:「我非吝吾術,恐壞吾道也。所傳而君子則可;不然,有借此以行竊者矣。公子固無慮此,然或出見美麗而悅,隱身入人閨闥,是濟惡而宣淫也。不敢從命。」公子不能強,而心怒之,陰與仆輩謀撻辱之。恐其遁匿,因以細灰塵布麥場上:思左道能隱形,而履處必有印跡,可隨印處急擊之。於是誘單往,使人執牛鞭立撻之。單忽不見,灰上果有履跡,左右亂擊,頃刻已迷。公子歸,單亦至。謂諸仆曰:「吾不可復居矣!向勞服役,今且別,當有以報。」袖中出旨酒一盛,又探得餚一簋,並陳幾上。陳已,復探;凡十餘探,案上已滿。遂邀眾飲,俱醉;一一仍內袖中。韓聞其異,使復作劇。單于壁上畫一城,以手推撾,城門頓癖。因將囊衣篋物,悉擲門內,乃拱別曰:「我去矣。」躍身入城,城門遂合,道士頓杳。後聞在青州市上,教兒童畫墨圈于掌,逢人戲拋之,隨所拋處,或面或衣,圈輒脫去,落印其上。又聞其善房中術,能令下部吸燒酒,盡一器。公子嘗面試之。

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