One evening Ching-Yen brought her young brother, Song, a handsome youth of about
sixteen years, but also, alas, like his attractive sister, a ghost, having departed this life at a tender
age. Could Song also be Yang's Pupil? Yang agreed, and Song proved to be a very intelligent
boy. Before long he was reading the classics and writing poems.
Yang was delighted with the success of his school for ghosts. The lessons kept these
naughty spirits occupied and out of mischief, and Yang was able to continue with his studies and
also earn a little money writing poems of satire on current affairs, which became quite well
known, but not always popular.
Eventually the day came when Yang had to leave to take his examinations, and say goodbye
to his phantom pupils. He was gratified to find how badly they took his news. The girls wept
and Song was full of forebodings, begging him not to go. 'The Gods are not with you at this
time,' he said, 'and if you go now some dreadful calamity will befall you.'
But Yang would not listen and the next day he left the house to keep his appointment with
the examiner. When Yang arrived at the capital he learned that his works of satire had enraged a
prefect of great influence in the district, and his examiner, far from being sympatric, accused
Yang of improper conduct. Yang was throw into prison, and, penniless, without food, becoming
weaker every day, he wished that he had taken heed of Song's warning.
One night he thought he was dreaming when he saw Ching-Yen, but when she gave him
food he knew it was really her. She told him that his examiner had been bribed to accuse him of
improper conduct and that her brother, Song, had gone to the court to plead for his release. She
would return the next night to tell him how Song had fared.
When she had gone he ate the food which gave him new strength and hope. But Ching-
Yen did not return the following night as she had promised. Neither did she come the next night
of the next, and Yang became even weaker-all hope gone.
Then one night Shai-Lu came to him, but she was very sad and downcast. She told him
that Song's request for Yang's release had fallen on deaf ears and he also had been taken into
custody. Ill had also befallen Ching-Yen, who on her way back from visiting Yang had been
accosted by the Black Judge and had been carried off to be his concubine, but, refusing to submit,
she too had been imprisoned.
Yang, weak as he was, tried to console Shai-Lu, taking the blame upon himself. She gave
him some money, so that he could buy food and then left him, saying that she must go back to
watch over Song.
The next day Yang was brought before the Judge who asked him who was the young man
called Song Tsai, who had pleaded for his release. Yang, not wanting to cause any more trouble
for his spirit pupils, pretended that he did not know, whereupon the judge told him that the young
man had been brought before him to be beaten, but, throwing himself upon the ground, he had
disappeared. Yang still kept silent, and the Judge, thinking that Song's disappearance was a sign
to indicate Yang's innocence, told him he was free to go.
Yang could hardly believe his good fortune. He went back to his house as quickly as he
could, arriving there just after dusk, but no one was there to greet him. When he went to bed that
night he could hear the sound of weeping, but when he got up and lit his candle he could see no
Henceforth Yang often heard in the night the sound of quiet weeping, and it made him feel
very sad and helpless. He was not visited by his little ghosts maidens any more, and he missed
them very much, and often thought about them when he sat alone at his studies in the evening.
He thought of taking a wife, but how could he afford to do so when he had not yet passed his
examinations? He began to work harder than ever, dreaming of the wife he would be able to have
one day, and she always looked like either Ching-Yen or Shai-Lu.
One night the sound of weeping was louder than usual, but it came from outside the house.
Yang got up and went to the door to investigate. A young girl was there. He asked her whence
'I have traveled a long way and now I am so tired that I cannot walk another step. I was
told that you would give me refuge.'
Yang invited her inside and saw that she was very beautiful, with lovely eyes and teeth
like pearls. 'Who told you to come to me?' he asked, thinking how pale she looked and
wondering if she was another ghost.
But the girl fell at his feet with exhaustion and he lifted her on to his bed. He watched
over her all through the night and in the morning when she awoke he made gruel for her. He
knew now that she was not a ghost, and yet she had talked in her sleep calling him by name and
reciting verses which had been written by his spirit pupil and known only by him. He was
mystified and could hardly wait to ask her again how she had come to him and from where.
'I only know that I was very ill, indeed near to death, when a girl came to me and told me
of Yang and his teachings. She said that you needed me and that I must come to you. She
seemed to enter into my body and give me the strength, and here I am.'
Yang was amazed at what he heard and asked: 'Did the girl who came to you tell you her
'She told me her name was Shai-Lu. Do you know of her?'
'Yes, I know of her. Did she say anything else?'
The girl blushed and lowered her eyes. 'She said that you would want to take me for your
And Yang knew that nothing would make him happier. 'But,' he said to her regretfully,
'your family would not want you to marry a poor man.'
'I will not marry anyone but you,' she told him.
And so a messenger was despatched to the girl's parents who soon came to fetch her
away, but she would not go with them, and therefore they had to agree to the marriage, which
took place the next day.
But one thing marred their happiness, and that was the sound of weeping which haunted
the house every evening until they were blessed with their first child, and then the weeping
The child was a girl and she strongly resembled Ching-Yen.