The Subjugation of a Ghost
A young wife fell sick and was about to die. "I love you so much she told her husband, I do not want to leave you. Do not go from me to any other woman. If you doI will return as a ghost and cause you endless trouble."
Soon the wife passed away. The husband respected her last wish for the first three monthsbut then he met another woman and fell in love with her. They became engaged to be married.
Immediately after the engagement a ghost appeared every night to the manblaming him for not keeping his promise. The ghost was clever too. She told him exactly what has transpired between himself and his new sweetheart. Whenever he gave his fiancee a presentthe ghost would describe it in detail. She would even repeat conversationsand it so annoyed the man that he could not sleep. Someone advised him to take his problem to a Zen master who lived close to the village. At lengthin despairthe poor man went to him for help.
Your former wife became a ghost and knows everything you do,commented the master. "Whatever you do or saywhatever you give you belovedshe knows. She must be a very wise ghost. Really you should admire such a ghost. The next time she appearsbargain with her. Tell her that she knows so much you can hide nothing from herand that if she will answer you one questionyou promise to break your engagement and remain single."
What is the question I must ask her?inquired the man.
The master replied: "Take a large handful of soy beans and ask her exactly how many beans you hold in your hand. If she cannot tell youyou will know she is only a figment of your imagination and will trouble you no longer."
The next nightwhen the ghost appeared the man flattered her and told her that she knew everything.
Indeed,replied the ghostand I know you went to see that Zen master today.
And since you know so much,demanded the mantell me how many beans I hold in this hand!
There was no longer any ghost to answer the question.