Stories from Ancient China: The Miraculous Beggar

Taoist priest Mai Daolu was originally a eunuch in the Song dynasty. Once he went out to buy some lumber for the palace. When he rode past Xishuimen at the capital, he saw a dead beggar lying by the riverbank. There were a worn out mat and a short cane beside the beggar. Daolu bought a shirt and a pair of pants, hempen sandals, and a scarf and buried the beggar.

Later, Daolu received an order to go to Fuyan as an envoy. When he arrived at Baoban, he got accommodations at a relay station. A person came requesting to see him and said: "I came to thank you for the favor you have done for me."

While Daolu was puzzling, the person said to him: "What I am wearing from head to feet are gifts from you." Daolu thought for a long while and then realized that this visitor was the beggar.

He quickly ordered the servants to leave and had a long talk with him. When he returned to the capital, Daolu ordered the grave opened and found it was empty except for a worn out mat and a short cane in it. Daolu then gave up his official post and became a monk. He was past ninety when he died.

From Kuoyizhi, a collection of anomalies written in Song dynasty of ancient China

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