Yen Hui
Fictional Character
"Curse of the Three Demons"
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: China
Religion: Judaism
Date of Birth: 13th century
Occupation: Rabbi

Yen Hui was a rabbi for the Jewish community of Kaifeng, China during the reign of Kubilai. He was ethnically Chinese, and had balanced his Judaism with the teachings of Kung Fu-dze.[1]

One day, Yen Hui was approached by Sa'id ibn Hawqal, a Muslim trader from Damascus. Sa'id explained that he'd been cursed to be tormented by three demons by Bagadan, the Mongol governor of Kaifeng, after Bagadan cheated him of his best merchandise. Sa'id hoped that Yen Hui might know how to lift it. Yen Hui quoted both Psalms and the words of Kung Fu-dze, and allowed that he could probably help. While Sa'id was initially suspicious of how Chinese paganism might have influenced Yen Hui's Judaism, he realized he had no room to criticize.[2] As it was the Sabbath, Yen Hui could not help Sa'id then, but told him to come back after sunset the next day. Yen Hui warned Sa'id that he might not be able to help, only that he would try.[3]

Sa'id returned the next night in the throws of a demon-caused fever.[4] Yen Hui bade Sa'id to sit. With his young assistant, Yen Hui uttered an incantation inside the Holy of Holies, and through the use of a magical symbol, successfully lifted the curse. Now that Sa'id felt better, Yen Hui informed him that the curse would fall on Bagadan. He also gave Sa'id a piece of paper with some runes on it, and told Sa'id to touch it with his right hand the next time he saw Bagadan; God willing, his debts would be repaid.[5]

The paper worked: Sa'id was able to recuperate his lost profits, and an extra two ounces of gold. He then left Kaifeng, paying the extra two ounces to the synagogue on his way out of town.[6]


  1. Arabesques 2, pgs. 65-66.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 65-66.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 67.
  4. Ibid., pg. 68-69.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 70-73.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 73-75.