According to the country folk in middle China, many a district is blessedly haunted by a certain personage, for whose pleasure they are used to set aside a little bowl of rice now and then. They strive to avoid hurting his feelings by cautioning their children against tying empty egg-shells on the ends of a stick when playing with water, seeing which, the dwarf — for he is a very tiny little fellow — might think they were stealing his buckets.
This tiny little fellow was called Grandfather Three (San Ye, 三爷) is invisible. The discovery of his existence happened on this wise.
An ox-boy was once hitting his beast with a bamboo whip. As he did so, he saw a tiny hat fall to the ground, and a dwarf run away for fear of receiving a second blow. He picked up the hat, put it on, and went home.
” Rice is ready ! ” cried his mother, as she saw the ox come back, but where was her lad?
“Here!” he shouted.
“Standing in the doorway,” was the reply, which, being accompanied by a removal of the magic head-gear, made the lad apparent to her eyesight.
The ox-boy returned the hat, together with a bowl of rice for frightening him and taking his invisible hat.