A Silk Road Story – Yuan gui

The myth – Depressed and restless spirits approach the living for help to redress their grievances and look for clues to provide justice for them.

The story – He was lying in the tent, half dozing and half awake. Waiting for something, anything to show him this trip was worthwhile. It was one of a hundred his father had sent him on and he was bored. Slowly he became aware of the smell of jasmine and sandalwood. Ohh he did love those scents, so he took a deep breath.

He heard whispering, but knew there was no one within 50 miles. So he kept breathing deeply and relaxing. On the edge of sleep, he heard a woman’s voice step out of the crowd of whispers. She seemed disturbed by something. She kept talking about the dune he was resting on. Something was buried there. Huh. Interesting as it was, he had no intention of getting up to investigate. So finally she left him alone.

The next few nights, the same sequence of events took place. To the point of him thinking about her during his day’s activities. Wondering if she was real or just a product of his imagination. Probably the latter.

Finally he saw a marker the whispers had mentioned and he went over. He playfully dug around it. After all, he had time to kill. So what harm would digging in the sand do? Well, nothing but annoy his father if he came upon him or couldn’t account for his time adequately. Hmm. So he kept digging, smiling as he did it.

Suddenly he felt something… My gods, was that? Could it be? No!! Was that a hand?? It sure felt like it. Fighting revulsion, he kept digging because curiousity won out. And he found out it was indeed a hand. Dry and brittle to the point where he would have thought it would evaporate in his fingers, but it didn’t. He carefully removed the rings from the hand and packed them into his belongings. And set for home.

When he arrived, he showed he rings to a few friends. One friend turned white as he looked closely at them and listened carefully to the story, especially the location of where they had been found.

The friend went to the spot and began digging deeper around the spot. Slowly he uncovered the body of his missing sister. And he knew his brother in law had lied to the family about her running away with another man. His family hadn’t really believed that anyway. He put the remains in the cart and took the body home to his parents. She would be avenged now. And her children would know she had not willingly abandoned them as their father had screamed often at them. He had the proof they needed.

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