Ежи-оборотни в китайских текстах X–XIX вв.
In Chinese culture, hedgehog spirits refer to several types of
spirits. These can be animal-demons that can transform into humans
and interact with humans. Unlike other animals, for example, foxes,
hedgehogs were not very popular characters. Several stories about them
can be found in ‘Taiping guang ji’, ‘Taiping yu lan’ (10th century), as well
as in a collection of tales about the weird, “Kui che zhi” (12th century).
In most cases, hedgehogs, in the form of elderly people retaining some
zoomorphic features, encounter humans in the yard or in the house and
do not harm them. Another type of were-hedgehogs are sacred animals,
the cult of whom spread during the Qing era and remains popular to
this day. Those spirits, having settled in the family, ensure its prosperity
and acquire the ability to shapeshift into humans only upon achieving
immortality. Stories about various hedgehog spirits are presented in
the collection by Li Qingcheng, “Zuicha’s Tales of the Weird” (“Zuicha
zhiguai”), published in 1892. Those stories take place in Tianjin, where
the cult of the white hedgehog was very popular. In some of those, the
character displays features of different types of spirits.