In the Tang dynasty, an illusionist walked through Chang’an’s streets with a little boy and his backpack. No one knew his name. There were many props in the backpack. While the illusionist was performing on streets, he cut off the boy’s head with a knife and told audiences, “I can bring him back to life!” Then he shouted to the boy. The beheaded boy recovered and stood up slowly with no injuries in his neck. Audiences were naturally amazed. The illusionist made a lot of money from it.
One day, after the illusionist shouted, the beheaded kid laid still on the ground. At the sight of this, the illusionist started doubting himself, but after a while, he understood what was going on. The illusionist bowed to all sides of the appeared audience, “I’m new here and I don’t have time to visit the masters of illusion here. There is a master among the audience now. He is using his awesome power to destroy my performance. Please have mercy on me, great master. Let me finish the performance. I will formally acknowledge you as my master and surrender.”
He shouted to the boy again, but the boy was lying on the ground and did not move. At this time, a group of patrol officers passed by and saw the dead kid. They concluded that the illusionist had killed the boy and so they wanted to arrest him. The illusionist did not defend himself, but saying helplessly “There are so many people around me, I couldn’t escape even if I wanted to. Let me have one more supernatural performance. You can catch me easily after I finish it.”
The illusionist took a box out of his backpack and took a claw from the box. He made a cut on his shoulder with the knife and scratched at the wound with the claw. Soon a muskmelon was born from the bloody cut on his shoulder. After that, the illusionist spoke to the audience again, “I don’t want to kill anyone. There is a master among the audience, I beg you again to release me from your curse. It would be a mercy if you allowed me to resurrect the boy.”
The illusionist shouted at the boy a third time. The boy was still lying on the ground. The illusionist became sad and said, “It seems that murder is inevitable.” The moment he finished speaking, he cut off the muskmelon with the knife and shouted. The boy stood up unhurt immediately. There was a monk in the crowd whose head fell to the ground as if it were cut off by a knife. The audience screamed, but the illusionist did not even look.
He packed props and the boy into his backpack and carried it on his back. Then he breathed a puff of air into the sky and a column of colored light appeared. He climbed up the column into the sky. Finally, under the shocked gaze of the audience and police patrol, he disappeared into the sky.
Chang'an China Illusionist master illusionist Strange Chinese Stories street-performer Tang dynasty
Oh boy! I think I’m going to get a big fan of your website.
Yesterday, I read a good story about a man who met a woman and he was living in her home, the woman was making enough money and they both had a child. The story had a not nice ending but it was a great read, I didn’t stop reading till the end.
Today, this story caught me from the first word to the end.
It is a good story to read, you did it again!
Hey, Alejandra. I am really happy that you like my website! Stay close and have fun!
Wow! Nice story, so the boy lived but did the monk die? Was the illusionist even real? Where did he go after all this? Will you be making a sequel to this story? You should write a book about this illusionist, this was a captivating short story I really liked reading it. Life is but an illusion anyway, what is real and what is not is all a perception in one’s mind! Thanks for the great story, keep it up!
Hey, Kris. Thank you for your comment and encouragement! It is from an ancient Chinese story. I translated and rewrote it. Most of these stories are simple, so you have room for imagination. Thank you again, all the best!
Wow that’s quite a story actually – had me pretty much gripped from start to finish.
I don’t want to hit any spoilers – but would I be right in thinking that maybe the monk in the audience was the ‘other’ illusionist? Am I on the right track?
I’d also like to get your views on why the illusionist disappeared into the sky?
Hey, Chris! Thank you for your comment! I think you are right! And all my stories leave a lot of room for the imagination, so you have to decide for yourself! Maybe he is not human or he has supernatural power!