Hua Miao spirit worship.
5. A-she.

Compiled by Wang Ming-ji.


In a community where infant mortality was high the a-she was greatly feared. The dreams of parents and children were still a source of terror long after the coming of Christianity. It is surprising that Yang Yung-xin had nothing to say about these spirits beyond a brief mention in his initial list. (M371). The "bite" of the a-she could cause a baby to be still born or born defective, and in young children might result in sickness or in death.

Some points are not fully explained. Having confined the a-she in an earthenware flask the shaman-healer "threw it away", but we are not told where or how. Was it broken in the process, for how else might the a-she have escaped? Why was the shaman-healer likely to have trouble if he met no one else on the road that day? Was it, perhaps, that the a-she, having got out of the flask, like a dog following a trail, was able to track the shaman-healer down, provided that the scent had not been crossed and confused by other people? What form of retribution might the shaman healer expect if the a-she did in fact catch up with him?

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