The Painted Skin

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Once upon a time, a young man invited a young woman to his own study and lived together with her. The young woman claimed that she had fled from domestic violence.

The ferocious ghost was painting the skin.

One morning, Wang Sheng was taking a walk as usual when a Taoist priest came up and told him that he was in danger.

With half suspicion, he went home, only to find that a ferocious ghost adding touches onto a painted skin spread on his bed. With it, the ghost turned into the woman he loved. Horrified, Wang Sheng found the priest who gave him a duster for protection.

Wang Sheng's wife is entreating the vagrant to bring him back to life.

That night, Wang Sheng stayed with his wife. The duster did not save his life. The ghost came and snatched his heart away. Wang Sheng’s wife asked her brother-in-law to help look for the Taoist priest.

The Taoist priest came and slaughtered the ghost, but could not bring Wang Sheng's life back.

Wang Sheng’s wife implored him to help. The priest recommended a tramp in the street and told her not to be offended by his insults.

Apart from verbal abuse, the tramp made her to eat his phlegm, which she did but could not swallow. With mortification, she came back home. Holding her husband's body, she wailed and wailed when, all of a sudden, something jumped out of her mouth. Before she could catch it, it had already fallen into the opening where Wang Sheng’s heart had used to be. On a close look, she was shocked: it was a heart! With it Wang Sheng came to life again.

Story retold/ translated by Haiwang Yuan, ©2003
Last updated: October 9, 2003

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