Wednesday, June 15, 2016

There Are Truly Fox Spirits (确有狐仙)

I must say that there are indeed fox spirits around though I feel that the Chinese fox clans and the Japanese ones are quite distinct in temperament and status.

Whatever case that might be, fox spirits are normally inherited through bloodlines and not through purchases. You cannot purchase and keep a fox spirit by purchasing a Thai locket, a mustika pearl or by performing rituals as far as I know. Fox spirits are normally of free beings and they hate to be bounded by anything or anyone.

So far, I only came across an old man, Mr. Wang who lived in an old mansion off Taiping Road in Kuala Kangsar many years ago who indeed kept an heirloom male fox spirit brought from North-eastern China during WWII. If the old man is still alive; he would be 90 years old by now.

According to the old Mr. Wang, his ancestor was an army commander serving under Qing Emperor about some 400 years ago. He obtained this fox spirit when he was stationed in Northeast China commanding a troop of imperial army. Also that this fox spirit had saved his ancestors’ lives over the years. Every time when a mishap is about to occur, this fox spirit would appear in the form of an old man in its owners’ dreams to warn them.

Mr. Wang recalled that when he was young, about 10 years old; his parents were living in Guangzhou and they were quite rich and most furniture they used were antiques of that time. We can perhaps imagine if all those antiques were preserved until today… the value of these antiques must be skyrocketed during this time if put into auction in New York or London. But that was the good old memory of those days.

Back to the story, at that time; Wang’s father has a special room specifically for his heirloom fox spirit. No one except the father and servants who clean and made offerings to the spirit were allowed to enter the room. After Wang’s father passed away, he inherited this fox spirit and as instructed by his father; the room for the fox spirit should be always kept clean.

There should only be one table in the centre of the room with a tablet inscribed with the characters ‘胡大仙之位` (The place of Immortal Hu), a cup of tea, an incense burner and some flowers. A raw chicken egg was the only needed offerings on the 1st and 15th of every Lunar Month. Strangely speaking, on every egg change; the old egg would become emptied with outer shell intact. It was as if something has removed the egg contents leaving an empty shell.

A few weeks before the Japanese invaded China, Wang’s father had a dream where he was visited by Immortal Hu. This Immortal Hu advised Wang’s father to migrate to Southeast Asia as the war in China was imminent. So Wang`s family travelled first to Sandakan and then to Malaya and finally settled in Kuala Kangsar until when I was still staying in the royal town of Perak.

Before my parents moved to Taiping some 30 years ago; I paid Mr. Wang a visit and asked him of his Immortal Hu. According to old Mr. Wang, perhaps his days were numbered because just a few weeks ago, this Immortal Hu appeared in his dream and bided him farewell.

Unfortunately, I have not got any chances to revisit Mr. Wang after I have moved to Taiping though I do go pass his big house every time I go to Kuala Kangsar. Perhaps I wasn’t interested in fox spirits at that time… just fairly recently when I did stop by the mansion, it has changed ownership. The new owner has no ideas of Mr. Wang’s past and the whereabouts of his fox spirits. It is a little pity and disappointing to say so…

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