The book Famous Chinese Short Stories (John Day, 1948) contains a selection of stories, most from the Tang and Song dynasties, translated by Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976). One of the later stories in the book is from the collection Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling (1640 – 1715).

Lin Yutang translated the story's title as "Jojo", but the original title (in Wade-Giles) was "Hsiao Hsieh" (presumably "Xiao Xie" in pinyin). The story's main character doesn't believe in ghosts and he wants to rent a residence from his friend Chiang that has been abandoned because it was said to be haunted. Of course, Tao Wang soon meets the two ghosts that haunt the place. (Many of Pu Songling's stories involve ghosts or other supernatural phenomena.)

At the beginning of the story, Tao Wang shows Chiang an essay entitled "An Expansion on Yuan Chan's Theme Disproving the Existence of Ghosts". My question now is whether this is a reference or allusion to a real essay on the existence of ghosts. I have not found a Chinese author named Yuan Chan, but since the book contains a few typos, the name may have been Yuan Chen (Wade-Giles) or Yuan Zhen (pinyin). "Famous Chinese Short Stories" actually contains a story by Yuan Zhen, but I am not aware of a text by Yuan Zhen an the existence of ghosts.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.