They ran off, but no sooner had he returned to his book when they returned. Yang held on
to his book, determined to continue his reading, but one of them came up from behind him and
put her cools hands over his eyes. Again he jumped up in anger, but they only laughed at him.
So he tried a different approach.
'I have work to do and must study to pass my examinations,' he told them in a friendly
manner. 'So why don't you be good girls and leave me in peace? Go and do something useful.'
This approach surprised them and they stopped laughing and looked at him in a
contemplative way. One of them whispered in the other's ear and they both smiled sweetly at
him and then left the room. Presently he heard the sounds of activity in the kitchen and he went
back to his work, thankful that he was getting a little peace at last.
About half an hour later the pretty ghosts came back and started to lay out a meal on the
low table. It all looked delicious, but even though Yang was hungry he was a little dubious about
eating a meal cooked by ghosts. They might poison him! He thanked them and told them how
clever he thought they were. 'But I am not hungry,' he said, going back to his book.
'If you do not trust us, how can you expect us to be good?' asked the one who seemed to
be the elder of the two.
Yang thought that if he refused to eat, he would continue to be plagued by them and
would be unable to stay there. He took up a bowl of rice and chop-sticks and tasted some of the
food, and, feeling no ill effects, he pronounced it excellent and perfectly cooked, and the two little
ghosts were delighted.
After he had finished his meal, they sat together and talked, but they would say little about
themselves. He learned that the name of the older one was Ching-Yen, and the younger one was
Shai-Lu; but of their families they would tell him nothing, saying that as they were only spirits his
interest in them could not be marriage-therefore why was he so curious?
'As I never thought to meet such charming spirits when I came here. It is natural that I am
curious about you, especially as we are to live together in this house.'
To this Ching-Yen replied: 'Fortunately for you, the other spirits which occupied this
house have been recalled to the world below by the Black Judge, while we await whatever fate is
in store for us. But if you wish to stay here, we will continue to server you.'
And so Yang was able to settle down and work, and the girls-for he could no longer think
of them as ghosts-came every evening after sunset and cleaned and cooked for him, taking an
interest in his work, disturbing him no longer, and he was very happy.
One day he had to go out and did not return until well after sunset. He found the younger
girl, Shai-Lu, seated at his desk laboriously copying from the book which he had been
transcribing. She showed him what she had been doing and he praised it. 'But there is much
room for improve-ment,' he told her with a smile, 'and if you like, I will teach you.'
Shai-Lu was delighted at the suggestion and Yang, seating her on his knee, held her hand
and showed her how to hold the brush correctly. Just then Ching-Yen came into the room and.
On seeing them thus, her face flushed up to the roots of her shiny black hair as though she was
jealous of the younger girl.
On seeing this, Yang set Shai-Lu on her feet again and offered his knee to Ching-Yen.
'Let me see how well you can wield the brush, my dear,' he said to her, and smilingly the girl
wrote with Yang guiding her wrist.
Seeing that they were both very interested, Yang gave them a piece of paper each and told
them to copy a verse, and while they labored at their tasks he was able to continue with his own
studies. When they had finished, they brought their work to him and he gave them marks. The
younger girl's work got the higher marks and again Yang had to placate Ching-Yen with
encouraging words, telling her that if she worked hard she would soon improve.
Thus Yang became the teacher to the two young ghosts, and when their writing improved
he taught them how to read. They were apt pupils and once they ha grasped anything they did not