The Talking Silver Foxes
Then the fox would laugh: “Hi hi!”
Once a farmer was plowing on the side of the mountain. When he looked up he saw a man with a straw hat, wearing a mantle of woven grass and carrying a pick across his shoulder coming along the way.
“Neighbor Wang,” said he, “first smoke a pipeful and take a little rest! Then I will help you plow.”
Then he called out “Hu!” the way farmers do when they talk to their cattle.
The farmer looked at him more closely and saw then that he was a talking fox. He waited for a favorable opportunity, and when it came gave him a lusty blow with his ox-whip. He struck home, for the fox screamed, leaped into the air and ran away. His straw hat, his mantle of woven grass and the rest he left lying on the ground. Then the farmer saw that the straw hat was just woven out of potato-leaves; he had cut it in two with his whip. The mantle was made of oak-leaves, tied together with little blades of grass. And the pick was only the stem of a kau-ling plant, to which a bit of brick had been fastened.
Not long after, a woman in a neighboring village became possessed. A picture of the head priest of the Taoists was hung up in her room, but the evil spirit did not depart. Since there were none who could exorcise devils in the neighborhood, and the trouble she gave was unendurable, the woman’s relatives decided to send to the temple of the God of War and beg for aid.
But when the fox heard of it he said: “I am not afraid of your Taoist high-priest nor of your God of War; the only person I fear is your neighbor Wang in the Eastern village, who once struck me cruelly with his whip.”
This suited the people to a T. They sent to the Eastern village, and found out who Wang was. And Wang took his ox-whip and entered the house of the possessed woman.
Then he said in a deep voice: “Where are you? Where are you? I have been on your trail for a long time. And now, at last, I have caught you!”
With that he snapped his whip.
The fox hissed and spat and flew out of the window.