Another Ghost Story印度鬼故事
(Originally in Chinese)
There was once an Indian woman named Devi. Indian people usually have sacred and great names related to God. A "Devi" is a female Deva (Heavenly being), and the name bears great meaning. Sometimes, Indians name their children after Indra (the mythological king of the abode of the gods) in hopes that they will be better humans.
This Indian woman Devi had a young son named Lahuve. The mother and child had to flee their home, which was occupied by an evil spirit that had killed many members of their family, including Devi's parents-in-law and Lahuve's six uncles. Therefore, she decided to take her teenage son away from the haunted house for they were the sole survivors in their family. Devi took her son to another place, where she ran a business for a living.
Several years later, Lahuve, now grown up, asked his mother: "Mom! Where did we come from? My friends always ask me this question and I don't know how to answer them. They want to know why we left our ancestral house." Indian people, like the Chinese, the Aulacese and other people in Asia, highly treasure their ancestral homes.
Thus, his mother told him this story: "In our old abode, eight members of our family were killed by a ghost. Fearing that we would be his next victims, I decided that we shouldn't live there anymore for it would bring us harm." And Lahuve said, "Well! What's so strange about people dying in a house? Where there is birth, there will be death. People die when their time comes. They have already died. Why should we leave our ancestral home? We should return; nothing will happen to us!" His bravery was so convincing that his mother finally consented. They then packed their luggage and went home.
Nevertheless, fear dwelled in Devi's heart. Every day, she would make offerings to the ghost before each meal, and Lahuve was very curious about her behavior.
One day, Devi prepared one of her son's favorite dishes, and he wanted to have the ghost's share as well. Of course, his mother forbade him. So he asked, "Why? For whom is this food reserved? I like this dish very much and I didn't have enough." Devi said, "This is an offering to the ghost. He has already killed eight of our kin. If we don't offer him food, he will kill us, too."
Lahuve was unconvinced by his mother's explanation, and said, "How could this be? Why do you pay so much attention to the ghost? He might not have been responsible for our relatives' deaths." Devi firmly believed that the ghost was behind the family tragedy, for her eight relatives had died one after another. But she had never seen the ghost; she just imagined everything. Her disbelieving son insisted: "Just let me eat it! There is no ghost!" He wanted the food very much, despite his mother's disapproval. She then said, "Please! Don't eat it, don't! Let the ghost have it. If you eat it, the ghost will kill you. What will I do then?"
That day, the ghost really came to enjoy the food. Lahuve sat there waiting for him to appear. When he did, Lahuve asked, "Hey! Ghost! Who are you?" and the ghost told him, "Young man, I am the third brother of your grandfather. After I died, I killed your grandfather and your uncles, because they robbed me of my wealth and let me die in poverty and pain. Therefore, I took my vengeance by killing them all."
Lahuve then asked, "What power do you possess?" The ghost said, "I am extremely powerful. I killed your uncles and grandfather as easily as you swat flies. No problem at all! I could have killed your mother as well, but she fled. Though she has come back, she offers me food every day, so I spare the two of you. Listen carefully. I can fly to Heaven, the abode of the angels, in an instant. I can also fly to the abode of the ghosts. Don't you think that I am terrific?"
Lahuve said, "If you are really so powerful, can you take me to the deities and angels?" The ghost said, "No, I can't." Lahuve said, "Then, can you convey a message to them for me?" The ghost said, "Sure! What do you want to say to them?" The young man said, "Please ask the angels how long I will live here? How old can I live to be?" The ghost said, "Okay, I will." Then he left.
The ghost came again the next day and said to Lahuve, "The angels said that you can live to the age of sixty." Lahuve asked, "Please ask them again if it is possible for me to die earlier, say around forty to fifty? Can I be killed earlier? If this is not possible, then can they let me live longer until I am a hundred years old?" The ghost said, "Okay, I will ask again for you." He then departed again to ask the angels.
The next day, the ghost came back and said to Lahuve: "I have conveyed your request to the angels, but they wanted me to tell you that it is not possible. You can die neither a moment earlier nor later, because the length of human life is predestined."
Upon hearing these words, Lahuve immediately swallowed the offerings set aside for the ghost and rushed into the kitchen. He picked up a big piece of wood, lit it, and used it to beat and chase the ghost away. He said: "If you do not get out, I will kill you; I will continue to beat you." The ghost displayed his deadly fangs and claws trying to scare them. Devi implored her son to stop doing that. But Lahuve said, "Mom! Don't you worry! The angels told me that we can't die any earlier or later. So, why are you still afraid of the ghost?" The ghost threatened to kill them both if they did not offer him food. However, he had also heard with his own ears the angels say that it is impossible to die earlier or later. Therefore, he had nothing more to say, and was beaten out of the house by Lahuve. After Lahuve had learned the truth, the ghost could not threaten him anymore, and the ghost was aware of that, too.