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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peach Blossom Girl Magic Duel - Chapter 2


Copyright © 2010 - Jeff Loh. All rights reserved

Nary A Flaw In His Miraculous Predictions,
In Reckoning Heaven’s Schedule of Life and Death

After pronouncing his verdict, Lord Chou handed over a piece of paper to the landlord. On it was written,

Against conscience, you forcibly wrestle a youthful kiss,
Know not your scheme had been exposed from the start?
On the third watch, night of tomorrow a tryst has been made.
Two corpses flung far and wide to all directions!

Lord Chou said,

“The husband of this lady stole some of your money and had bribed a killer. Tomorrow night when you rendezvous with her, you will be caught red handed and be killed. Now that you have pleaded me to save you, my advice is that you must sever all carnal desires for her and cultivate good thoughts from now on. Heaven will protect you and turn this calamity into bliss. Here’s my pronouncement: Leave your home tonight on the third hour of the watch and head east for thirty miles. On seeing a lantern hanging on a door, knock and be let in. Meet the person there face-to-face and invite him to your home for a drink. Someone will come along to straighten out everything. Calamity will dissipate after the next morning.”

Upon the advice, the landlord kowtowed, thanked Lord Chou and left hurriedly through the main door. The crowd was excited and blocked the landlord asking noisily,

How are his predictions?”

The landlord pushed through the crowd crying out loudly,

“Indeed everything is true, incredibly accurate!”

With that he disappeared like a gust of wind. The soldier approached the divination table and likewise made a silent prayer at the side. Lord Chou wrote his prediction on a piece of paper and handed it to the soldier.

On it was written:

Someone’s ten strings of cash you did get,
Illicit lovers you wouldst catch.
Such immoral wealth you snatch,
Lover’s web you be latched.

Lord Chou spoke,

“Soldier, did someone not give you some ten strings of cash yesterday? That tomorrow night, on the third watch, to catch some illicit lovers? When the deed is completed, another reward of ten strings of copper cash will follow. Isn’t this true?”

Flabbergasted, the soldier could only nod his head and answered,

“My Lord, you are a living God! 'Tis the reason this Nobody came to seek your advice.”

Lord Chou smilingly said,

“Don’t think of accepting this kind of wealth. Help catch illicit lovers in the act? When the adulterer is caught, hate will dissipate, whence money would come to thank your efforts. In not catching him, why should you be paid? I’m pointing a road for you to walk: Just go and meet the man as planned. After that, give this written divination to him. Someone would then present you ten strings of copper. Stop all wishful thinking from now on lest you encounter more disasters.”

The soldier kowtowed quickly and said,

“With your Lordship’s advice, no more delusion for this nobody!”

As he left, he did not talk to anyone about his situation but muttered out aloud,

“Such accuracy, a real living God indeed! If you people don’t believe me, just go and test him out.”

With those words, he quickly left the place and disappeared. Who would have thought that upon listening to Lord Chou’s words, the landlord and soldier would later meet. Two different people walking on the same road: The soldier’s hirer is none other than a servant of the landlord. At tonight’s meeting, all present will be surprised and shocked yet thoroughly awed by Lord Chou’s divinations. The landlord invited the two men back to his home for a drink and the soldier became a peacemaker between them. After the written predictions were brought out for all to see that any ill feeling was cast away and yes, the landlord did give the soldier ten strings of copper.

Soon the events were known and the entire city of Morning Song was abuzz with gossip. From then onwards, that street was jammed packed with inquirers wanting to know what their fortunes may be. One question, one prediction true. Four questions asked, two pairs of answers became true. Each day after ten inquiries asked, the doors were closed; caring not if more people were still waiting outside. Peng Jian was overjoyed, each day thirty easy pennies were made come rain or shine. Every morning after the divination sessions had ended, signs were taken down and since he had no children, he walked to the street market wine store for a cup or two. He would then return home after all the money had been spent. If there was any left, he gave them to the poor and needy. Days came and months passed. Soon more than half a year had gone by. Who knew that in midst of complete happiness there would be trouble popping out in front of his eyes. Readers, let me explain.

In this city of Morning Song, there lived a widow named Mrs. Shi whose husband had died early on in their marriage. They had a son named Tsung Fu. Being poor, they managed to scrape by a few pieces of silver. She bade her son go to the city of Meng Jin to do some buying and selling. Before he left, they decided that business should conclude within three months. Six months had now elapsed and there was no news of him. Each day old lady Shi thought of her son deeply; standing by the door waiting eagerly for his return. As each day passed, there was no sign of him. Finally she decided to seek divine intervention. In the end, nothing was efficacious and she was deeply depressed. One day while standing in her doorway, she overheard a passerby commenting,

"Lord Chou is selling his divination services on the Cloud Dwelling Street. Very accurate are his skills but too pricey. He charges one tael of silver and three pennies!”

On hearing, she thought to herself,

“Why don’t I go and seek help from him?”

She borrowed the necessary money from neighbours and rose before dawn. She washed and combed her hair, had a little bite to eat1 and tied her hair with a black damask silk ribbon. After locking up her home she headed towards Lord Chou’s place. Dawn broke just as she reached the city. Coincidentally, Peng Jian had opened the door, put up the signs and was sweeping when old Mrs. Shi came and recognized Pang Jian. Crying out aloud,

“Master Peng, can you come out please?”

On hearing someone calling his name, Peng Jian looked up and recognized old Mrs. Shi as they were once upon a time neighbors from the same village,

“Old Mrs. Shi, such an early hour you come. Must be something very important. Is it not? Do you wish for a consultation?”

Old Mrs. Shi burst into tears when she heard the words,

"Rightly so. All because of this old widow’s son, Tsung Fu. He has been gone for some commerce and said he would return within three months. Half a year passed and no news at all. This old lady is too worried. No choice but to borrow that tael of silver and three pennies to plead for Lord Chou’s advice. Whether my son is happy or sad, alive or dead, I need to know and not have my intestines all wrenched up.”

As she spoke, money was pressed into Peng Jian’s hands. After the money was accepted, he counseled,

“Old sister, the lucky will have the protection of heaven. I’m sure your son is safe. Whether he is delayed or not, we do not know. As a mother, your worries are natural. Please come in.”

With these words, she was led into the inner hall. Old Mrs. Shi raised her head and saw a table on which were the Four Treasures of the Study2, a divination cylinder, an incense burner and such. In the middle sat a noble-looking person. Just look at his countenance, so different from others, so dignified and impressive. One can see,

A three tiered hat3 on his head,
An Eight Treasure4 design emblazoning,
Black gauze robes adorning,
Sewn with serpent dragons5.
A face so black and shiny like a pot’s bottom,
But eyes aglitter like stars.
Sitting upright, divining the Eight Trigrams,
Looking more like a god than an immortal.

The moment Mrs. Shi saw Lord Chou’s countenance, she quickly knelt before him. Lord Chou was not thrilled to see a worried old woman hobbling right into the middle of his hall and kneel before him. Why was he not pleased to see her? This is because earlier on, he made a divination and found that there was an overpowering sense of Yin. He was just about to order Peng Jian to not accept any female inquirer for the day when she appeared before him. Lord Chou was annoyed and said,

“Please rise.”

And to Peng Jian he asked,

“Why did you not report to me first before bringing her?”

Peng Jian replied,

“This is lady Chia from the Shi family. Her dead husband was an acquaintance of mine. Today she came to inquire about her son. This is why I did not report to you first.”

When old lady Shi heard the words, she began to sob,

“This old lady came because her son Shi Tsung Fu was away on business, half a year later and he hasn’t returned. This old body has only this son. In not knowing if he is dead or alive, it’s vexing me to no end. I am in error by not following the norm, I beg for my Lord’s boundless mercy.”

Lord Chou nodded his head and said,

“So be it. Information about the traveler? Let me divine and see what happens.”

With that, he picked up the divination cylinder and shook it a few times and made some detailed calculations6 and after a while he looked at her and sighed,

“If I don’t speak to you frankly, won’t you be waiting on false hope? Your son will die tonight at the third watch of the hour!”

Old lady Shi gasped when she heard the words,

“My Lord, I merely asked when my son is coming back, why did you say he’s going to die?”

Lord Chou replied,

“This predication was conceived by using Ying and Yang principles that came before heaven was created and the rules of Eight Trigrams that came after heaven was formed. All that there is to know about your son are shown here, so why not those of his death as well? You son had already started his journey home. Mother and son reunion… that I’m afraid will not be possible!”

Mrs. Shi wept uncontrollably,

“My son will die tonight, where will that be? Did he die from an illness?”

“I had divined that tonight on the third watch of the hour, your son will be crushed to death inside a broken cave dwelling7.”

On seeing the severity of the words, her sorrow doubles and she kept on knocking her forehead on the ground, begging Lord Chou to save her son.

Lord Chou had no choice but to answer,

“Let me have your son’s Hour of Eight Characters8, his age and let me see how his horoscope for the year will be.”

Old lady Shi quickly gave the information – the son was born on the twelfth month, on the eighteenth day at the hour of the Ox (1am – 3am) and fourteen years of age this year. Lord Chou took away the divination box and studied the given information and exclaimed,

“What a pity! Evil spirits overhead with the White Tiger9 watching life. Even if he’s an immortal, it is not possible to pass this door! Not even a life saviour in sight. What can I do? Old lady Shi, you better lay your heart to rest and forget about your son.”

This is: “If Yama10 wants you to die at the third hour, who will dare retain his life till the fifth watch!”

Immediately upon hearing Lord Chou’s words, old lady Shi wept tearfully and left for home in a pitiful state.

To know if her son was going to live or die, please see the next chapter.

NOTES:

1. The original text was食過點心. I don’t think they had dim sum the way we have today!

2. Four essential things a scholar needs for writing, the brush, ink, ink slab and paper. 
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Treasures_of_the_Study

3. 粱冠 - Tiered or beamed hats originate from the Han Dynasty as part for official court dress. It is also 
                 known as 進賢冠. In Chin Dynasty there are known as 緇布冠. There are different kinds to
                 indicate different ranks with the smallest number for the lowest rank. One tiered is for scholars or
                 small ranking officials. Two tiered are for middle rank officials and three are for the high officials.
                 During the Ming Dynasty, all civil and military officials are required to wear these hats during
                 important ceremonies like sacrificial rituals together with red silk robes and other accompanying
                 accoutrements. Finally the number of tiers was increased to seven.

4. 八寶 also known as the 8 Auspicious Things (八吉祥). They are

    a,   Right-coiling White Conch (右旋螺) symbolizing the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the
          Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of
          disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own
          and others' welfare.

    b.   Precious Umbrella (寶傘) symbolizing the wholesome activity of preserving beings from illness,
          harmful forces, obstacles and so forth in this life and all kinds of temporary and enduring sufferings of
          the three lower realms, and the realms of men and gods in future lives. It also represents the enjoyment
          of a feast of benefit under its cool shade.

    c.   Victory Banner (勝幢) symbolizing the victory of the activities of one's own and others body, speech
          and mind over obstacles and negativitities. It also stands for the complete victory of the Buddhist
          Doctrine over all harmful and pernicious forces.

    d.   Twin Fish (雙魚) symbolizing the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness, without
          danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and migrating from place to place freely and
          spontaneously, just as fish swim freely without fear through water.

     e.   Dharma Wheel (法輪) The golden wheel symbolises the auspiciousness of the turning of the precious
           wheel of Buddha's doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations, in all realms and at all times,
           enabling beings to experience the joy of wholesome deeds and liberation.

     f.   The Auspicious Knot(吉祥結) or the Unending Knot(無盡結) symbolizing the mutual dependence of
           religious doctrine and secular affairs. Similarly, it represents the union of wisdom and method, the
           inseparability of emptiness and dependent arising at the time of path, and finally, at the time of
           enlightenment, the complete union of wisdom and great compassion. It is a stylized intertwining of the
           ”卍”character.

     g.   Lotus Flower (蓮花) symbolizing the complete purification of the defilements of the body, speech and
           mind, and the full blossoming of wholesome deeds in blissful liberation.

     h.   Vase of Treasure (寶瓶) symbolzing an endless rain of long life, wealth and prosperity and all the
            benefits of this world and liberation.

     http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/b8symbol.htm


5. 蟒龍 – symbols of nobility.

6. The original text is 把子午卯酉推算 which I translated as “detailed calculation” so as not to obfuscate
     the reader with the background meanings of the phrase. These are the 12 earth stems which ancient
     Chinese used as a system to name for hours, years etc. In this case they represent the cardinal directions,
     the associated element and year.

     子 – north, water, rat, 23:00 – 1:00
     午 – south, fire, horse, 11:00 – 13:00
     卯 – east, wood, rabbit, 5:00 – 7:00
     酉 – west, metal, rooster. 17:00 – 19:00

     子clashes with 午and so are 卯and 酉.

     Other meanings of 子午卯酉 include, “the reason or because” (as is 就不告訴你怎麽個"子午卯酉),
     the entire day (吭嚇了半天,也没有說出個子午卯酉), from beginning to the end, from start to finish,
     get to the bottom of things (問個子午卯酉), all directions and result or achievement (没混出個子午卯
     酉)

7. 窰: A manmade hollowed out opening on the slope of a hill to be used as dwelling place.

8. 時晨八字: The 8 birth characters in determining one’s fortunes in life etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Pillars_of_Destiny
    http://www.absolutelyfengshui.com/astrology/four-pillars-of-destiny.php

9. The white tiger is usually depicted as a very ominous sign and denoting west.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Pillars_of_Destiny
    http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/ssu-ling.shtml
    http://www.mysteriouschina.com/4-supernatural-beasts-in-ancient-china/

10. One of the kings or judges of Hades.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yama

Original Text

桃花女陰陽鬪傳/第二回 

通神卜判断無差 
驗先天死生有數


再說周公判罼,將紙遞與土豪一看,上寫着:

欺心想奪青春口,
怎知早已機関露?
明日三更歡會時,
两個尸骸分四處。


周公道:"此女之夫已經盗你的財帛,買通了人。明日他的妻子與你相會之時,必然拿住,雙雙殺死。你今求孤救你,你必須要對那婦人絕滅了色心,改為善念,上天自然佑你,逢凶化吉。孤今給你個應驗:你到今晚三更時候出門,東走三十里,見有一盏灯挂在門前,你叫門進去,必然對頭見面。你可請他到家飲酒,有人開解,自然明朝無事了。”土豪聞言,忙叩頭拜謝,出了大門,往外飛跑。眾人見他满頭臉是汗,跑將起來,一眾連忙哄拥上前,攔住問道:“占的靈也不靈?”這土豪不及回言,推開了眾人,大言道:“果真是,果真靈得很也!”言間,一陣烟跑了。


這軍漢又已至桌案邊,也依命暗暗祝告一番。周公也判了幾句言語,遞與那軍漢。只見上寫着:


得人十吊錢,
妄想去捉奸。
無義財休取,
恐怕惹情牽。


當下周公随叫道:"軍士,你可是昨日有人助你幾十吊,明日叫你三更去與他捉奸,捉奸之後也謝你銅錢十吊。可是問這件事麽?”那軍漢一聞此言,唬得只是叩頭,道:“公爺真是個刊活神仙也!小人實是為此事而來。”周公笑道:“你休取這宗財帛,你若帮那人捉奸,捉住了奸夫,其恨已消了,那肯將錢來謝你?倘捉不着奸夫,他又豈肯白送錢財與你用?孤今指条路給你走:你只管去與那人相會,相會過之人,你將我這卦兒拿出來與他们看,自然有人送你的青錢十吊。從此後休生妄想,方免遭厲害也。”軍士聽了,忙叩頭道:“但得公爺這等指明吩咐,小人從此断不敢枉想了!”當時叩别出來,也不肯對人說知其事,只言道幾句:“真靈,真神仙也!你列位有不信的,只管去試試。”忙忙離了卜市,飛跑的去了。


誰知土豪與軍士皆道周公之言真靈,及至會面,两人走的是一路:叫軍士捉奸的,就是土豪的家人。今夜會面,俱覺大驚大喜,深信周公断卦如神。土豪把眾人邀回家中,軍士相帮替他二人開解,又拿出周公的判帖來與眾人看,方才把這冤結解開了。土豪又送軍士青錢十吊。


只應這两件事傳了出來,把個朝歌城講到了,有疑難的事都來求判,把一個卜市擠的不可開交。真是判一個准一個,判四個准两雙。日日算完了十卦,竟把門関了,也不管外頭还有人算不算。把個彭剪喜得個不亦樂乎——一日三錢銀子,風雨不阻。他又無兒無女,只是只身。每日一早,就卜完了十卦。他把招牌收下,放好了,即往街坊上酒店吃酒,必要將三錢銀子用完,方才回府中,若吃不完訖,他就將餘銀給與那些來往貧人。日來月往,半年有餘。怎知美中不足,眼前就要弄出一段事來。列公,聽我细講。


這朝歌城里有一個石寡婦,丈夫早年死了,止有一子,名映石宗輔。因家道貧寒,積下了幾两銀子,叫兒子到孟津去做些買賣。随行之時,母子们約定,三個月之内回來。誰知一去半年,并無音信。石婆子每日思兒想子,終日倚門盼望,日復一日,并無些影兒,便去求神問卜,終是虚文,心中煩悶不過。那日在家門首上立着,聽得過往人說:“周公在棲雲里賣卜,靈應非凡。只是卦資過高,要白銀一两三分!”就打動了他的心事,想:“我何不去問問看?”随向鄰舍借貸得一两三分銀子,起一個黑早,梳洗了,食過點心,用烏綾兒扎了頭,倒扣了門,便往周公卜市而來。


一到卜市,恰正天亮。凑巧彭剪方開門出來,挂吊招牌打掃。石婆子認得彭剪,便叫聲:“彭老爺,公爺可出來否?”彭剪聞言,抬頭一看,認得石婆子是昔同里鄰居之人,便叫道:“老嫂,你黑早到來,必定有事。要卜卦麽?”石婆子聞言,垂淚道:“正是。只因老寡婦之子石宗輔出外經商,在家時原說約定三個月内就回來的。至今半年了,并無音信回,老身放心不下,無奈借貸了一两零三分白銀,求公爺卜一卦看,看他在外安樂否,或生或死,老身也免常時牽肠挂肚。”一面說,一面把銀子遞與彭剪。那彭剪接了,道:“老嫂放心!吉人天相,令郎在外無事,或者因身耽擱了,亦未可知。你為老母,既是放心不下,要卜一卦,我就帶你進去罷。”言罼,便與婆子一同進去内堂上。  石婆子抬頭一看,只見當中擺開一張桌子,上放着文房四寶,卦筒、香案等類,中間坐着一位公爺,只見他生得類象與人迥異。好威儀!但見:


頭扎三粱冠,八寶攢身;穿着皂羅袍,上绣蟒龍。面如鍋底黑又亮,目如星星起毫光。端坐上面排八卦,賽過靈仙一位神。


當下石婆子看見周公的儀表,不由不得就跪將下去。周公在坐上見外面進了—個老婦人,面帶懮容,忙忙的進來,一至當中,跪下地中央,他就有些不悦。這是為何?只因正早起登坐時,卜了一卦,見陰煞過旺,正欲叫彭剪來吩咐:今日不許接婦人的卦資。不期頭一個就是帶進一個婦人來,不免面上有不悦之容,即道:“你且起來。”随又問彭剪:“你今日為何不先禀明,就帶人進來卜卦?”彭剪道:這是石杜之妻賈氏。其丈夫在日,與彭剪有一面之交。今日他來問他的兒子歸期,故此未曾先禀。”石婆子聞言,帶淚說道:“老婦人只因兒子石宗輔在外經商,半年不回,老身只有此子,如今在外不知生死,心頭發忿,不遵往例,自知有錯,只求公爺海宥憐恤!”周公聞言點頭道:“也罷。你是問行人的麽?待孤與你卜一卦看看。”随取卦筒晃了两晃,起成一卦,把子午卯酉推算了一回,望着石婆子嘆類道:“孤若此不明言,豈不叫你白白盼望?你兒子今夜三更,就要命盡無常了!”


石婆子聞言,唬了一驚,即道:“公爺!我問你幾時動身歸來,如何說他即死?”周公道:“孤這卦接着先天的陰陽,後天的八卦,分厘毫末事俱在上面,何况関係你兒子的性命?你兒子起身是起身了,你母子要見面,只怕一萬不能!”石婆子便大哭道:“我兒今夜即死了,却死在何方?是得何病而死?”周公道:“孤算你兒子今夜三更壓死在破窰之内。”石婆子見周公說的話如見一般,心中倍加凄惨起來,不住的叩頭,只求公爺救救他的兒子。周公無奈道:“你且把兒子的八字、生辰报來,待孤與他看看流年如何?”石婆子忙把兒子的八字說上來——是十二月十八丑時生的,今年已是十四歲。周公聽了,把卦盒收了,再把石宗輔的八字排開一看,只叫一聲:“苦呀!凶神當頭,白虎守命,就是神仙也難過此門!命内一點救星也没有。奈何?石婆子,你今收拾此心,不要想念他。”正是:閻王注定三更死,誰敢留人到五更!


當下石婆子見周公說出不能救他的兒子,無奈放聲大哭,切切凄惨出了卜市門,往自己家中而去。


不知他的兒子生死如何,且看下回分解.

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