Portraits of Thirty-three Swordsmen – 26 Pan Yi

No. 26 Pan Yi: self-proclaimed “wild guest”, dependent on Zheng Kuangguo.

According to “Record of Southern Tang”, Pan Yi often traveled in the Jianghuai area, calling himself “Wild Guest”. He thought patronage with Zheng Kuangguo – provincial governor of Hai Zhou. But Zheng didn’t think highly of him, and put him up in a small room next to the stables.

On day, Pan Yi was out hunting with Zheng Kuangguo. Zheng’s wife went to check on the horses, on her way she stopped by Pan Yi’s room. She saw that the room is practically empty save for the simple grass bed and the bamboo trunk next to it. Curious, she opened the trunk. There was nothing inside except two balls made of tin. It was not clear what they were for. So she closed the trunk and left.

When Pan Yi got back, he was shocked and angry “It must’ve been that woman who touched it! Good thing I pulled back the radiant light from the swords, otherwise she’d lose her head.” A bystander reported this outburst to Zheng. Zheng secretly summoned Pan Yi. “Do you know swordsmanship”, he asked. “That’s something I often practice”, replied Pan Yi. “Then can I take a look”, asked Zheng. “Sure”, said Pan Yi, “but I must fast and pray for three days beforehand. And we need to do it at a flat area on the eastern outskirt of the city. Then we can try and see what happens.”

Zheng arrived at the time and placed they agreed to. Pan Yi took out the two tin balls placed them on one upturned palm. Suddenly, two long, narrow steams of air appeared, like rays of light shooting out from tips of his fingers. Like white rainbows, they circled and spiraled around Zheng’s neck, their loud clanging ringed his ears nonstop.

Sitting upright on the horseback, Zheng dare not move, his spirit and courage long gone. Finally, he thanked Pan Yi “Sir, your divine skill, I am now aware of it. Thank you for holding back its full power.” Pan Yi smiled, raising his hand, the two streams of air withdraw back into his palm. Soon, they transformed back into the tin balls.

From that point on Zheng Kuangguo treated him as his most honored guest, even recommending him to the emperor.

Pan Yi was recommended to the emperor by Zheng Kuangguo. Their meeting must have been similarly impressive, as Pan Yi was ordered to move into the royal palace. He died there several years later.





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