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Friday, August 6, 2010

Peach Blossom GIrl Dueling Magic - Chapter 5

Copyright © 2010 - Jeff Loh. All rights reserved

Peach Blossom Girl Dueling Magic

Chapter 5

A Way Out Sent From Afar, A Filial Son Escapes Calamity,
Relying On Magical Arts, A Loving Mother Reunites With Her Son.

The poem says:

White clouds are no different from those seen from the Han Palace in autumn.1
Far away war beacons are burning bright – setting souls a fear in lofty watch towers.
My general, where art thy war horses now?
Only grasses and wild flowers grow in despair.

Let’s talk about Shi Tsung Fu in the broken cave dwelling. Just as he was about to drift off to sleep during the early part of the hour when suddenly he heard a voice crying from outside,

“Shi Tsung Fu, my son! Come home quickly!”

His heart gave a jump and opened his eyes immediately. He was all alone and silence swirled around him. He thought to himself,

“This is really strange. A moment ago, I distinctly heard someone called my name. Did I imagine it?”

The rain stopped, he got up and walked out of the place. The sky was filled with stars and the new moon looked like a hook glowing faintly. The grass was wet and slick like oil. He wanted to leave this place and hurry on with his journey even though he knew there was no shelter ahead. Finally he went back in the abandoned cave dwelling and sat down thinking,

“Perhaps I’m just imagining things. It must be that I was thinking about mother too much and so the whistling wind sounded like her voice. I’m this far away from home, how can I hear her calling me?”

Pondering left and right and in grogginess he soon fell asleep. Right in the middle of a dream, he heard someone calling him again and pondered,

“Strange indeed! Is my imagination running amuck again?”

And at that, he jumped and shouted,


Unconsciously his tears rained from his face but he rationalized his silly predicament. Then he burst out laughing,

“This is so ludicrous! Just now in my dreams, I heard mother calling me. It’s not possible that she’s here in the middle of nowhere. As I can see, I am the only person here. No one knows how hard it is to endure this loneliness! O mother! Not even you know that your son’s in such a desolate place.”

The more he pondered, the more his feelings became mixed. Very soon he became anxious and was fully awake,

“All this worry about mother! Don’t think I’ll have any peace in my sleep. When dawn breaks, I shall be in the city. Why don’t I just sit and wait till the fifth watch? This way, I can determine if indeed someone is calling me.”

He sat down and concentrated for a moment. The moon was still glowing softly outside. Around the third watch he became tired. Then he heard clearly in the night,

“Shi Tsung Fu, my son! Come home quickly!”

He could no longer contain himself and cried out loudly,

“Mother! Your son’s here! The voice is definitely mother’s. Could she really be here in this desolate wilderness?”

He got up to have a look outside. As he stepped out, a thunderous roar rose behind his brains. Shi Tsung Fu was so blown away that his soul almost flew out to Heaven’s beyond. Quickly he looked back and saw the shelter had collapsed completely.


He was so overwhelmed that he plopped down to the ground, sitting in horror. After a while, he gave a sigh,

“This abandoned cave dwelling has been neglected for so many years and with this torrential rain its walls are so soaked and weakened. How could they remain up any longer?”

It was fated that Shi Tsung Fu was crushed to death in this cave dwelling, but fortunately Peach Blossom had instructed Old Mrs. Shi on how to save him. Even though Peach Blossom’s magical powers were awesome, it was fortunate that Shi Ren Fu was a filial son. Otherwise he could not have escaped from this ill-fated calamity.

Shi Tsung Fu was fully awake by then. After gathering his thoughts he let out a sigh of relief,

“O great deliverer of sorrow and perils, Divine Honorable of the Second Heavenly Stem2!”

Then on second thought, he bemoaned,

“A second later, I would be crushed to death inside there! How long would it be before my corpse is dug out? Mother would never know what had happened to me. One life lost and so would another. No one else will take care of my aged mother!”

Just then, distant sounds of the fourth hour were carried by the wind to Shi Tsung Fu’s ears and he suddenly realized what had happened and laughed out aloud,

“What a fool I am! I should be considered lucky in having the protection of Heaven and escaped from this calamity. Early in the morning, I can enter the city and see mother soon. We’ll be reunited. There will be joy and smiles in our conversations. Isn’t that a grand affair?”

As a result, sorrow departed and happiness flowed into Shi Tsung Fu. Right there and then, he sat on a rock until the five drum beats of the fifth watch were heard emanating from Morning Song. Highly excited, he exclaimed,

“One more hour and dawn will be here. Alas my luggage is buried deep inside and there’s no way to dig it out. Fortunately, my twenty taels of silver are with me. No use to wait here any longer. Might as well hurry to the city walls and wait there instead.”

He stood up, tidied his clothes and in quick large steps, he raced to the City of Morning Song with just his life and two empty hands. Shi Tsung Fu arrived at the city gates and waited alone. Soon the sky brightened and the gates opened. With winged-like feet, he flew home and in no time he arrived at the main entrance and began to knock on the door. There was immediate response. You see, old Mrs. Shi although long ago was in bed could not sleep. On one hand Lord Chou’s words coursed through her mind; on another hand, she worried that Peach Blossom’s instructions were useless. Tossing and turning she had found no peace. It was deep into the fifth hour when she was about to doze off when there was a sudden knock on the door. Almost immediately she jumped up from the bed fully awakened and answered the knock. Great joy filled her heart when she realized that her son had come home alive. To the main entrance she raced and upon opening it, she shouted,

“Shi Tsung Fu, my son! Is that really you? Great anxiety and anticipation are killing me!”

Was this an ordinary reunion between mother and son? Of course not, it was a reunion that was snatched from the jaws of death. Boundless joy was on hand but at the same time the weight of immense sorrow was too much to bear. Old Mrs. Shi did not say a word but with one great step forward, she hugged her son crying out in angst,

“My son! You really did come home alive! Did you not?”

Shi Tsung Fu was greatly puzzled on hearing his mother’s words, through his tears he asked,

“Mother, your son really did escape from death and came home alive. Let’s go inside and let me explain the details to you slowly.”

Old Mrs. Shi held his hands and went into the inner hall. Shi Tsung Fu related to his mother how he was caught in the rain; had sought shelter in an abandoned broken cave dwelling; then at such and such a time, thrice heard his mother calling; then had run out for a look when the place collapsed, just avoiding being crushed to death; that his luggage was still buried under the debris but luckily he had his money on him. When the narration ended, old Mrs. Shi could not help herself and started sobbing again. Soon both mother and son were in lament together. Finally when they were done, old Mrs. Shi said,

“We mustn’t be this sorrowful; you have a great saviour to thank. She is our next door neighbour. Let’s go quickly and give thanks to Miss Ren!”

Shi Ren Tsung quickly asked,

“Mother, who is this saviour you are taking me to?”

Old Mrs. Shi explained how she yearned for her son’s return; had gone to Lord Chou for a divination to be told that on the third hour of last night her son would be crushed to death in a cave dwelling with no hope of escape; that her cries had caught the attention of the daughter of the neighbouring Rens who then instructed her on how to save him and thus he was able to escape death.

“You see the paper horses are still on the table, isn’t this a chicken and that a winnowing sieve? Well, here’s the lamp, your clothes, a mirror and your shoes!”

As Shi Tsung Fu listened and compared the night’s events in the cave dwelling, he had an epiphany and exclaimed,

“Mother, if all you said is true, we owe our lives to Miss Ren. We must go and thank her but not like this. Won’t other people chide our bad manners? Your son now has 20 taels of silver; we must spend two or three taels of silver to buy a goat and some sacrificial wine. These will be our gifts of thanks to show them our most sincere gratitude.”

Old Mrs. Shi heard her son’s words and was in deep thought before replying,

“My son in wanting to buy a goat and wine is really a filial sign and respect for others. Bless you. Why use our money? Didn’t that Lord Chou charge such high fees of one tael of silver and three pence because his predictions are always accurate? He boasted to refund ten times the amount if his divinations proved wrong. Wouldn’t it be better to collect the refund to buy a goat and wine instead? The problem is that Miss Ren warned me about disclosing her name. In demanding a refund he would surely ask questions. Then how would I be able to respond?”

Shi Tsung Ren replied,

“Mother, don’t worry. Just say that I came back by myself and that’s that. How could he possibly know that it was Miss Ren who saved me?”

When mother and son finishing planning, they had breakfast, locked up the home and together they headed toward the divination stall.

Just then Lord Chou had finished his ten divination consultations for the day. Pang Jiang was taking down the sign when Old Mrs. Shi called out to him. Pang Jiang looked in the direction from where the voice had come. He saw it was from Old Mrs. Shi and asked,

“Old sister-in-law, what brings you here again?”

The moment he finished asking that he espied Shi Tsung Fu standing beside her. He gasped in shock and exclaimed,

“My good brother! Are you a man or a ghost? Is today the day you return to claim someone’s life?”

Shi Tsung Fu feigned innocence and with a face full of smiles he answered,

“How are you my Lord Pang? Having not been around for half a year, it really suits me in having some fun now. Sorry to bother you to go in and ask for the divination fee refund.”

Pang Jiang heard the words but feigned ignorance. He approached and laughing out merrily in sarcasm,

“My good brother, you came back. So nothing happened on the third watch of last night? Milord’s divination was proven wrong and such a coincidence that mother and son would come here today to ask for a refund.”

Old Mrs. Shi being more experienced, knowing what is good from the bad, quickly chimed in,

“Lord Pang, we are poor people, how could we dare ask Lord Chou for a ten fold refund? We plead only for the return of the original sum. You see, this was a borrowed sum. This old body would like to return what was owed. Our gratitude to Lord Pang will be deep.”

Can old Mrs. Shi get her refund back? Please read the next chapter.


1. 白雲猶是漢宮秋,

    An allusion to a play named, The Autumn Han Palace (漢宮秋). The full name is破幽夢孤雁漢宮秋. In
    some sources, the word秋 was replaced by the word for sorrow (愁). The story is about the Han
    Dynasty Emperor Yuan dreaming about Wang Chao Chun (王昭君) and their love affair being broken up
    by her marriage to a Hsiung Nu barbarian.

    For a more scholarly paper, see

2. Usually 太乙天尊 is translated as the Great Monad. Mine is a more literal translation. 乙 is the
     second of the Heavenly Stems, a system used to denote calendars, hours etc.

Original Text






他正出了窯門,只聽腦後響聲,猶如天崩地塌一般。把個石宗輔唬得魂飛天外,忙回頭一看,只見那一間破窯,已倒將下來。 “噯喲”一聲,身不由主,便坐在地下。定了半晌神,方轉嗟嘆了一番,又言:“這間破窯因日久年深,今又遇著這場破塊大雨,是濕透了。四面牆壁如何站得住?”實前生造定石宗輔今晚這時候該在這破窯壓死,偏偏就有個桃花女教了石寡婦這個解法,致石宗輔才能脫了這一場大災難。雖是桃花女的道法通神,也幸虧石宗輔是個孝子,方才有這一段因果。那石宗輔是晚醒定神思,念了一聲:“救苦救難太乙天尊!”心中一想,反痛哭起來道:“我若走遲—步,豈不壓死在裡面!不知何年拖出我的屍首?母親在家如何知道?活活的就盼望死了!豈不是因一命又害一命?況且誰來收拾他的老身呢?”正在言哭之際,忽有一陣風速速的送來,城上的更鼓已是打四下了。石宗輔翻然醒悟,又笑起來道:“我呆也!我今得皇天庇佑,脫了這場大災,就算是萬幸。明早進城,就與母親相見。那時候娘兒們又說又笑,豈不是一件大好的事?”於是破悲為喜,就坐在路旁一塊石頭上。一刻,等待朝歌城內更鑼暗暗的送了五下,心中大悅,便想道:“再等一更,天是能亮了,但只是我的行李被埋覆在裡面,料想此時不能扒出,幸得二十兩白銀帶在身邊,如今守著這間破窯也是無用,不如且奔到城下,在那裡等侯,倘天明城門一開,就好進城去見母親。 ”想罷,便忙站起身來,穿好了衣服,大步如飛的直奔朝歌城而來。只落個隻身得命,兩手空空。






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