Embroidered couple handkerchiefs.
Original translation by Foxs
Reverend Yideng lowered his head and sighed, “Actually I only have myself to blame for this unfortunate disaster. You see, my Dali kingdom is small; although it cannot be compared to the Chinese emperor’s palace where there are more than 3,000 women, speaking about the empress and concubines, I had a few. Ay! It truly was a sin. I was very fond of martial arts; very seldom did I come near a woman. Even my own empress could see me only once every few days; how much less time did I have for my concubines?”
Speaking to this point he said to his four disciples, “This is an inside story, you did not know the details before. Today I am going to tell you everything so you’ll understand.”
Huang Rong thought, “They really did not know it, they did not lie to me.”
Yideng continued, “Day in and day out my concubines saw I train martial arts. Some were interested and expressed their desire to learn. So I casually gave directions to one or two of them. I thought by learning martial arts they would be healthier and might have a longer life. Among them a concubine surnamed Liu was the most gifted. She was so smart that each time I taught her something she would understand everything right off. She was young and she trained hard everyday; her martial art advanced greatly. And so it happened one day as she was practicing martial art in the garden she met Zhou Botong, Zhou Shixiong [Martial Brother Zhou] quite by accident. First of all Zhou Shixiong was crazy about martial arts; his natural disposition was also naïve, he did not guard against male-female relationship. He saw Concubine Liu was training enthusiastically, immediately he came forward and sparred with her. Zhou Shixiong’s martial art came from his martial brother, Wang Zhenren [lit. true/real man, a respectful term to address a Taoist priest]; how could Concubine Liu be his match …?”
“Aiyo!” Huang Rong softly exclaimed, “He did not know whether his hand was light or heavy and has injured Concubine Liu?”
“Nobody was injured,” Reverend Yideng answered, “Only about three moves or two stances later he sealed Concubine Liu’s acupoint, and then he asked if she would admit defeat or not. Naturally Concubine Liu admitted defeat. Zhou Shixiong unsealed her acupoint. He was so proud of himself that he started to talk about the wonderful secret of sealing acupoint technique. Concubine Liu had actually asked me to teach her the acupoint sealing technique before; but just think about it: how could I pass on this profound martial art to an imperial concubine? What she heard from Zhou Shixiong was exactly what she desired. Immediately she respectfully asked him to teach her.”
“(Sigh)! The Old Urchin must be very happy,” Huang Rong said.
“You know Zhou Shixiong?” Yideng asked.
Huang Rong laughed, “We are old acquaintances; he stayed at the Peach Blossom Island for more than ten years, never once leave the island even for a single step.”
“With his character, how can he stay that long?” Yideng wondered.
Huang Rong smiled, “My father imprisoned him, and he was released just recently.”
“That’s so,” Yideng nodded his head, “Is Zhou Shixiong well?” he asked.
Huang Rong replied, “His body is well, but the older he gets the crazier he becomes. He doesn’t have any manners.” Pointing her finger to Guo Jing she pursed her lips and continued with a smile, “The Old Urchin has performed a ritual to become sworn brothers with him.”
Reverend Yideng could not help smiling; then he continued, “The acupoint sealing technique is only taught by a father to his daughter, mother to her son, husband to his wife; other than that no man can teach a woman and no woman can teach a man …”
“Why is that?” Huang Rong asked.
“Because male and female cannot be intimate,” Yideng replied, “Just think, if we don’t touch one’s whole body acupoints one by one, how can we teach this skill?”
“But didn’t you touch my whole body’s acupoints?” Huang Rong asked.
The fisherman and the farmer was irritated she kept asking questions and diverting the story; they stared at her angrily. Huang Rong stared back and them and said, “What? Can’t I ask any question?”
Yideng smiled, “You can, you can,” he said, “You are a little girl, your life was in danger, of course we have to make an exception.”
“All right, so be it,” Huang Rong said, “And then what happened?”
Yideng continued, “And then one taught, the other learned. Zhou Shixiong was at the prime of his life, Concubine Liu was just coming of age; their flesh and skin touched each other everyday, before long their feelings grew and finally they created a problem which was very difficult to rectify …”
Huang Rong wanted to ask; her lips were about to move but in the end she held back. She heard Yideng continue, “Some people came and reported to me. Although I was angry, I still honored Wang Zhenren’s reputation, I pretended not to know. Who would have thought that after Wang Zhenren found out; he interrogated Zhou Shixiong and he did not conceal anything …”
Huang Rong was unable to hold back much longer, she blurted out, “What is it? What is the problem that was difficult to rectify?”
Yideng temporarily at a loss of what to say, he hesitated before answering, “They really were not husband and wife, but they acted like one.”
“Ah, I know,” Huang Rong said, “The Old Urchin and Concubine Liu had a child.”
“Ay! It’s not that,” Yideng said, “They had known each other only for about ten days, how could they have a child? After Wang Zhenren discovered this affair, he bound Zhou Shixiong’s hands and took him to my presence for me to judge. We are martial art practitioners; we value loyalty above everything else, we did not put too much of a regard toward women. How could I injure our friendship over a woman? I immediately untied him and summoned Concubine Liu at the same time. I ordered them to get married. Who would have thought that Zhou Shixiong raised a clamor; he said he did not know what he did was wrong, that if he knew, he would have not done it even if he were to be killed. No matter what, he was not willing to take Concubine Liu as his wife. At that time Wang Zhenren sighed and said, ‘If I did not know any better, that he is a fool who doesn’t know good from evil, a sword would have already cut him into two as he committed this awful crime.’”
Huang Rong stuck out her tongue and said, “The Old Urchin was in a big trouble!”
Yideng continued, “At first I was offended, I said, ‘Zhou Shixiong, I am sincerely willing to part with my treasure and give her to you, do you think I have another agenda? There is an ancient saying, ‘Brothers are like hands and feet, wives are like clothes’; what is a woman for you to consider it a very big deal?”
“Pei! Pei!” Huang Rong spat, “Uncle, you disregarded women, what you said was a pile of rubbish!”
The farmer could not hold his patience any longer, he shouted, “Just shut up and don’t talk nonsense, will you?”
“What he said was wrong, I must refute it,” Huang Rong was adamant.
To the fisherman, the woodcutter, the farmer and the scholar, Reverend Yideng was not only their lord, but also their teacher. It never occurred to them to talk back, let alone refuting his words. They regarded him with utmost reverence; now hearing Huang Rong’s unrestrained mouth they were shocked and angry at the same time.