Blue Wine is a spooky story for kids about a Chinese man who has an encounter with a demon. It is based on an old folk tale from China that appeared in the book “Chinese Ghouls and Goblins”.
There were two Chinese men, named Hsiung and Chuang, who lived in the city of Peking. Hsiung was a historian and Chuang was a magistrate. They had been the best of friends for years and spent a great deal of time together, eating, drinking and discussing Chinese history and politics.
One night, the two men were indulging in a pleasant evening of conversation at the house of Chuang, eating delicacies that had been prepared by his servants and sipping warm wine from his cellar. One of the servants came in to interrupt them and Chuang was called away on urgent business. As he was leaving, he told his friend to make himself at home until he returned. While Hsiung was waiting, he decided to pour himself a fresh cup of wine.
No sooner had he done this than the cup suddenly vanished from sight. Hsuing couldn’t believe his eyes. He searched all over the room, but couldn’t find the missing wine glass. Baffled and a little annoyed, he poured himself a second cup. This time, as he watched in disbelief, a dark blue hand emerged from beneath the table and snatched the cup away.
Jumping to his feet in fright, Hsuing managed to get out of the way just as a an enormous blue demon emerged from under the table. It glared ferociously at Hsuing and flared its nostrils. Trembling, he cried out for help and two servants rushed into the room, but it was too late. By the time they got there, the blue demon had disappeared.
When Chuang returned and heard what had happen he laughed at his friend and dared him to spend the night in the very room.
Not wanting to seem like a coward, Hsiung agreed to this, making sure, however, that he could sleep with his sword by his side. It was a very special sword, having once belonged to a great Tartar General. As soon as a couch had been prepared for him, Chuang said goodnight and took his leave.
It was late autumn and outside the wind caused the leaves to rustle. A pale moon cast its eerie light through the window, and behind a silken green curtain a small oil lamp burned. The moonbeams and the lamplight did not disturb Hsiung for he intended to remain awake. Nevertheless by the time the hour of the rat approached, which is exactly midnight, Hisung began to dozen. Suddenly an empty wine cup fell clattering to the table, followed immediately by a second one.
“Hah!” He thought, “He’s returning the empties!”
And then, an instant after the second cup appeared, a blue leg poked through the east window, followed by an arm, an ear, an eye, half a nose, and half a mouth. At the same time, through the west window, another arm, leg, eye, and ear appeared along with the other halves of the mouth and the nose. Silently they joined together in the middle of the room forming a complete figure.
As an icy blast of wind blew the curtain, the blue demon glared horribly at Hsiung and began to advance on him. Seizing his sword, Hsiung leaped up and slashed at the great blue figure, cutting deeply into one arm. Whirling about, the demon jumped out the window with Hsiung hard at his heels. Brandishing his sword resolutely the determined man chased the demon until it ducked behind a cherry tree and disappeared. After making sure that it had really gone, Hsiung returned to the house and went back to bed.
The next morning, while on the way to the room in which his friend and spent the night, Chuang become suddenly alarmed upon looking out into the garden and seeing a trail of blood leading from that very room. He was pleased beyond measure when he heard from Hisung’s own lips what had happened during the night. As a precaution Chuang ordered the cherry tree cut down and chopped to pieces, at which time he discovered that every chip of wood smelled of wine.