song dingbo, a young man in nanyang, met a ghost one night while walking along the road. "who is it?" he asked. "a ghost," answered the ghost. "who are you?" "i am a ghost, too," zong lied. "where are you going?" the ghost asked. "i am going to wanshi," zong answered. "i am also going there," the ghost said. so they went a few li together. "it is very tiresome to walk like this," said the ghost. "why do we not carry each other on our backs by turns?" "that is an excellent idea," zong agreed. first the ghost carried zong for & few li. "you are so heavy!" it said. "are you really a ghost?" zong said, "i died quite recently, so i am heavy." then it was his turn to carry the ghost, which was almost weightless. they went on like this, each carrying the other several times. zong said, "since i have just died, i do not know what a ghost fears." "a ghost fears nothing but to be spat at," the ghost told him.
they came to a river. zong asked the ghost to cross it first. he listened and found that the ghost made no noise at all. when he waded the river, he splashed and made a lot of noise. "why did you make so much noise?" the ghost asked. "i have not yet learned to cross a river quietly, since i am a new ghost," zong answered, adding, "please bear with me about that."