During the reign of Shizong (1522-1567) of the Ming Dynasty, there lived in
Wuxi two good friends named Wang Fu and Zhang Xiang, respectively. Both of them
were men of plenty of guts and believed in neither ghosts nor gods.
One summer day found them drinking in the glow of the setting sun on the bank of
a rivulet. Said Wang: "Yonder on the opposite bank a man was interred yesterday somewhere in the
burial-mounds. Dare you cross over and drag the body out of the coffin? "
" I can do that under cover of night," replied Zhang.
"If so, " said Wang, " I'll stand you an urn of wine brewed in
the twelfth moon. I'm going to get it now and wait for you. "
Presently the sun disappeared below the horizon and Zhang crossed over to the
opposite bank of the rivulet. There, among the burial-mounds he found to his
surprise a coffin with its lid already removed. Full of suspicions, he
approached the coffin to take a close look when all of a sudden a pair of arms
stretched out from within and embraced his neck. Horrified, Zhang prayed:
"Please come out a little bit, will you? After I win the bet, I'll come
back tomorrow and make offerings to you and give you a decent burial, I
promise."The two arms round his neck, however, tightened and Zhang started yelling for
help. And then his yelling died down to groans. Some of the dwellers in the neighborhood,
on hearing the yell, rushed to the scene carrying torches. They found that the
man who had his arms round Zhang's neck was none other than his friend Wang.On the pretext of going for the wine, Wang had crossed over ahead of Zhang.
There, having dragged the body out of the coffin, he lay inside in wait for
Zhang. Despite the raging pestilence at that time, both of them did not catch
it. It's because they were men with plenty of guts.