The Subjugation of a Ghost
A young wife fell ill and was about to die. She told her husband,
“I love you very much. If you marry again, I will come back to haunt you.”
Three months later, the widower met another woman and fell in love. They became engaged.
That was when the haunting began. Every night, the ghost of the dead wife would appear.
She could recount all the going on’s between the man and his fiancée.
She knew what presents he brought her, what was said between the two of them in the most intimate details.
The man lost all peace of mind. His friends told him to seek the help of a Zen master.
After hearing the man’s dilemma, the Zen master said,
“The ghost of your former wife knows everything about you.
She is a very smart ghost worthy of your admiration.
Next time you see her, flatter her.
Tell her that yes, she knows everything.
But if she can answer just one question from you, you will break your engagement.”
“What question is it?”
“Take a handful of soy beans in one hand and ask her exactly how many are there.”
That night, the ghost appeared.
“I know you’ve been to see the Zen teacher.”
“Yes. You are so smart. You know everything.
I will break off my engagement if you could tell me how many beans I am holding in my hand.”
The ghost disappeared.
The man then realized that the ghost was a figment of his own imagination.
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