Wednesday, November 24, 2010
“Quickly put the corpse into the coffin!”Peach Blossom’s soul was blocked by the Black Malignancy and was prevented from entering into her body through her orifices. When the Black Malignancy was startled by the sudden crashing of the main doors, Peach Blossom Girl’s soul at that moment of distraction quickly slipped into her corpse. As her vitality regained to full strength, she quickly jumped up and stood erect. The Six Gods of Ding and the Six Gods of Jia15-2 departed in a flash of light and returned to their proper places when they saw the Peach Fairy returned to life.
All the people were stiffened by fright on seeing Peach Blossom Girl’s corpse suddenly jump up into an upright position. Chaos and pandemonium ensued, with everyone running away quickly screaming,
“Oh my God!”13-4
Peach Blossom Girl glared menacing with her almond- shaped eyes at Lord Chou who was standing in a corridor. Great anger filled the depths of her heart and in a loud voice she berated,
“Chou Chien! We don’t have any reason to avenge for the deaths of our fathers. So why use such a venomous way to kill me? What can you do to me now?”
Lord Chou was goaded from embarrassment to anger when suddenly he lunged at Peach Blossom Girl with his Big Dipper Sword. Peach Blossom Girl quickly stepped back and muttered a counter control spell at the Black Malignancy. As she waved her two long sleeves at Lord Chou, she gave a great laugh. The Black Malignancy turned and leapt at Lord Chou instead. Even with his great powers, Lord Chou did not expect such a sudden turn of events. He was too late in evading the Black Malignancy…
And the sound of the Big Dipper Sword was heard clanging on the ground. As Lord Chou fell, he tried to mutter the incantation of returning the Black Malignancy but of no avail. He did not foresee the tricks hidden in Peach Blossom Girl’s sleeves and in this round he smacked right into the Black Malignancy and died instantaneously. This is really,
Play with fire you’ll get burnt,
In harming others you’ll harm yourself first.
Alas, all people in this world,
How many can understand this simple truth.
As Lord Chou dropped to the ground his face turned purple and his lips became green. Nary was a breath left in his mouth. All present were stunned into a stupor until women big and small cried out in pain,
“Our master must have been harmed by the evil magic of Miss Ren Peach Blossom. Don’t let her go! Quickly we must bring her before Grand Tutor Wen2 for justice!”
All this while Miss Heavenly Fragrance was moping in her room as her father had forbade her to speak of any leniency for Peach Blossom.
Peach Blossom Girl laughed lackadaisically at the women’s mutterings and icily she taunted them,
“Chou Chien tried to harm others but in the end, he was killed instead. All his fault! I’ll stand here and see what you all can do to me?”
In the meantime, Pang Jian had completed his mission and went inside in great haste. There were sobs and cries all over the place and he grew frightened. Hastening himself and in about three to five steps he was in the inner apartments. All he saw was chaos and everyone rambled in discussion. So confused he was until he espied Peach Blossom Girl standing tall in cold laughter that he went up to her in a congratulatory mood,
“My benefactress little sister, today all should be joyful in seeing you well and alive…”
But before he could finish his sentence, a crowd surrounded him and admonished,
“Old Master has been killed by this Peach Blossom Girl. Why all this small talk with her?”
Pang Jian was dumbfounded and quickly asked,
The crowd pointed over his shoulder and said,
“Can’t you see what’s over there?”
Pang Jian lifted his head and saw that Lord Chou had fallen to the ground. Quickly he put out his hand to feel Lord Chou’s nostrils. Indeed there was no breath. Pang Jian started to cry.
The crowd pushed,
“Already dead, no use crying. Must have a solution!”
Pang Jian stopped his cries and shouted at them,
“What solution? Yesterday he tried to harm others. First he had his own daughter killed and who saved her? It was the one he intended to harm. Still our master did not realize his error of his ways. Now it is his turn. Who’s to save him now?”
Pang Jian turned and knelt on the ground begging,
“My benefactress little sister, please have great pity and compassion to save a life. We all will be bounded in endless gratitude to you!”
Peach Blossom Girl propped Pang Jian up and counseled,
“Elder brother, don’t be like this. All these people here wanted to take me to Grand Tutor Wen’s place for justice. Beckon him here and I’m still not afraid!”
Pang Jian replied,
“We’re foolish people, my benefactress little sister, please give Pang Jian some thin face3. It’s best to save a life.”
The crowd too knelt down and pleaded aloud,
“Miss Ren, if you can save our Lord, all of us shall be in your gratitude for ten thousand generations!”
As Peach Blossom Girl saw them on their knees pleading in earnest and also to demonstrate her powers, she gave a partial smile and taunted,
“Oh ho, so now you are all not going to take me to see Grand Tutor Wen? I shall accede to Brother Pang’s golden face. No choice but I shall try to make an effort!”
The crowd began knocking their heads to the ground as she spoke and asked,
“How? Please instruct us!”
Peach Blossom Girl laughed coldly,
“Go and do as I had instructed you before about bringing me back to life. This time just shout out ‘Buddhist monk knife!’ instead and he will stir.”
Pang Jian asked,
“Why not call the master’s name but ‘Buddhist monk knife’?”
Peach Blossom Girl replied,
“This is the secret of Heaven, how would ye know? Go quickly and do as I had instructed! You’ll see your master return to life and witness my power!”
Pang Jian dared not question any further but went back to the main doors and did exactly as before, kicking at it while shouting out loud,
“Buddhist monk knife!”
Right then the soul of Lord Chou became enlightened, turned to face the corpse and jumped into it. Immediately Lord Chou regained consciousness and leapt up. Right before his eyes, was his arch nemesis, Peach Blossom Girl. Both became bloodshot with enmity. Quickly he reached for his Big Dipper Sword and lunged at Peach Blossom Girl shouting,
“Bitch! Don’t leave! You dare use the Arts of Malignancy to harm me? If I don’t destroy you today, a man I shall be no more!”
Peach Blossom girl unhurriedly took out her as-you-wish peach branch from her pouch and transformed it into a precious sword to parry, berating him at the same time,
“Chou Chien, you ingrate! Instead of thanking me for saving your life, you dare to harm me?”
With that another fearsome stroke of his sword come bearing down upon her. Peach Blossom Girl dodged away and with lightning speed her Peach Blossom Sword came thrusting at Lord Chou. One Ying, one Yang began their battle in the great hall.
On seeing how events were unfurling, Pang Jian cried,
How can Pang Jian stop the fight with no weapon in hand? Quickly he ran to inform Miss Heavenly Fragrance who fainted dead right away. Then he ran to inform the Ren household…
Through the great doors and into the courtyard, Lord Chou and Peach Blossom Girl fought in a life-and-death manner. Unable to unleash their full power in such a small area they had no choice but to mount onto clouds and continue their duel in mid air. He came with a thrust and she went with a parry. Both parties assailed each other without mercy.
By now Ren Tai Kung had arrived at the Chou residence. Heavenly Fragrance came out to meet him and gave him an account of what had transpired. She could not help herself but break down in sorrowful sobs. Espying the sky they saw two persons mounted on colorful clouds locked in a deadly battle. Soon they drifted out of sight. The sound of deafening cries of a daughter for his father went unheeded – later, Ren Tai Kung and wife knew their daughter had returned to her proper divine station in heaven and heard how she resembled Peach Blossom Girl that the two old biddies took pity on Heavenly Fragrance. Using Pang Jian as intermediary they adopted her as their own. On her part she saw her father had been apotheosized and because she had lost her mother at an early age now without anyone to depend on and because of her friendship with Peach Blossom Girl, she agreed to the two old biddies’ grand gesture. She went over to the Ren household the next day to pay the proper respects to Ren Tai Kung and wife and became their companion. All affairs in Lord Chou’s household were left in charge to Pang Jian. These are later events.
Turning to the battling duo, the more they fought with each other, the more they were energized; demonstrating their powers and causing winds to turn into gales howling away. As thunder cracked, it caused great alarm to the Divine Sentries of Heaven. With each round, they battled with greater intensity and were approaching the vicinity of the Northern Gate of Heaven. The concerned Divine Sentries quickly reported the fighting to the Dark Warrior Emperor of the North. Upon opening his all-seeing and all-knowing eyes, all were seen and became known. The Tortoise and Snake Warriors were dispatched to bring the fighting duo before him.
Upon receiving their orders, the Snake and Tortoise Warriors blocked the way of the fighters and shouted in a booming voice,
“Cease all at once! By ye imperial orders of his most high Emperor! Ye are ordered to appear before his Holiness! Disobey and be whipped down from your clouds by these Celestial Lashers!”
The dueling duo heard the imperial Edict; they had no choice but to put away their weapons and followed the Snake and Tortoise Warriors into the August Halls of His Holiness. They fell on their knees and after making their obeisance, another Jade Edict came,
“Both ye belong to the world of immortals, for what reason must ye destroy each other? Chou Chien you are the reincarnation of the as-you-wish Buddhist Monk Knife and as a divine attendant boy, instead of following orders of watching the Eight Trigrams in the Tushita Palace, you secretly stole down to earth to divulge heavenly secrets causing Peach Blossom Girl to descend to the mortal world as well. Peach Blossom Girl is originally the scabbard for ye. Both of your natures are one and the same. Deviate not from this path! It is time now that your bodies of flesh and blood shall return to heaven. Here, a golden pill for each of you.”
They were ordered to swallow the pill and the Edict continued,
“Now that ye had partaken of the pills, ye will feel strange at first. If the pill does not dissolve in thy bellies within three quarters of an hour even indestructible bodies will putrefy into pools of pus!”
When the pronouncement was done a Seven Star4 Pennant was unfurled and the two were wrapped inside it. At Mt. Wudang5 they became the Chou and Peach Marshals. With a divine light they were forced apart to stand erect at the right and left sides. His Holiness then waved the Seven Star Pennant continuously for seven times and with a divine breath blew at the two Marshals who then took their divine light away and had their flesh and blood bodies returned to their proper places.
That very night, Taoist priest Yeh of the Mt. Wudang had a dream. In his dream he saw two Marshals askng him to relay letters to their familes. When he woke up and came into the main hall, he saw two extra divine Marshals standing in the temple hall; each emanating in a blinding light of divinity. The priest was taken aback. At their feet were two letters and with addressees clearly written on the envelopes. He quickly took them but dared not open them. The very next day he made his obeisance to the Dark Warrior Emperor of the North and the two golden bodies of the Marshals before traveling to the city of Morning Song. He located Lord Chou’s residence without difficulty and explained his presence to the gatekeeper who in turn reported to Pang Jian immediately, handing the letter to him when he came out. The priest was thanked with a reception for his troubles. Afterwards, Pang Jian went with the priest to see Ren Tai Kung, his wife and Miss Heavenly Fragrance. Each of them tore off the envelope of their respective letters to see the messages. Nothing much was said except for the need of the two families to be in harmony, words of consolation, that they had been apotheosized and that their divinity will never vanish.
After some time, together with Priest Yeh, they travelled to Mt. Wudang to offer incense. They made obeisance first to the Dark Warrior Emperor of the North before coming before the Marshals. Their golden countenance and facial appearance looked exactly the same as when they were mortals. After prayers were offered, they gave the priest a hundred taels of gold as expenses for offerings made to the two Marshals. With that they left for their homes. Very soon the news of these two new Marshals began to spread and reached the ears of the imperial court at Morning Song. Every official was in awe and many prayed to the Marshals in earnest as their prayers were answered. Two poems attest to this story:
What you do, Heaven knows,
Speak not of reasons for your grievances.
The good and wicked will get their just rewards,
Able to lift your head three feet high you’ll get the respect from the Gods.
Ten thousand things all planned by Heaven,
When the time comes, all planning by mortals go to waste.
Human greed never sated, like the snake trying to swallow the elephant6
Learn from the Sages with all one’s heart.
Except for wishful thinking none a cure for dissatisfaction,
The only thing money cannot buy is to become a God.
One can only sigh at the harshness of this world,
No matter how wicked it is, resolve is in my heart never to do evil.
18 Nov 2010
1. The lines of the Ying and Yang are clearly defined and marked. It describes how furious the battle must be in order for these two primal forces to collude into blurriness.
2. Grand Tutor Wen 聞太師 was the imperial tutor to the evil King Chou (紂王) of the Shang Dynasty. Finally we have confirmation of when the story took place. In the beginning, all we know was that the King of the Shang Dynasty was not too virtuous a ruler but the text did not identify him. Since the Grand Tutor is living in the city, we can safely assume that he had not been ordered to quell the rebellion in the North Sea when the Nine Tail Vixen came to befuddle the King and cause the demise of the dynasty. For more information see the “Tale of the Investiture of Gods” – 封神演義. I was stumped for over 20 years in trying to translate a term in a poem in the first chapter until the event of the Internet. Then again I was stuck in trying to find information on another obscure reference with no success. Hopefully I will be able to do so after this experience in translating this story. There is already an English translation but it omits out all the poems and explanations. I didn’t think it was a scholarly piece of work.
3. This face giving or saving is an Asian cultural aspect that is beyond the scope of discussion in these mere footnotes. For more info please see
4. The seven stars representing the Big Dipper.
In the movie, Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, this is the place where the heroine committed suicide by leaping to her death off the cliffs. This is also the place where the famous Golden Hall is located; one part of the Supreme Harmony Temple (太和宫). Built entirely of gilded copper with an incredible 20 tons of fine copper and 300 kilograms of gold, the hall is one of the biggest gilded copper temples in China.