26
Apr
10

Portraits of Thirty-three Swordsmen – 10 Jing Shisan Niang

No. 10 Jing Shisan Niang: adores Zhongli, despises Zhuge.

End of Tang Dynasty, Zhejiang Wen Zhou, there was a jinshi named Zhao Zhongli who was righteous, generous, and gregarious. One time when he stayed at the Zhi Shan’s Chan temple, he met a female merchant named Jing Shisan Niang*. She was performing rites for her deceased husband. She felt in love with Zhao, and they simply started living with him as husband and wife.

The two of them traveled to Yang Zhou together. Zhao was very generous toward friends, he spent a considerable amount of Jing Shisan Niang’s treasures. Shisan Niang adored him, and did not mind it at all.

Zhao had a friend named Li Zhenglang in Yang Zhou. Li’s 39th brother met and fell in love with a prostitute. The prostitute’s parents, who loved only money, forced them apart and gave her to Zhuge Duan instead.

At this time Yang Zhou was under the control of general Gao Pian. The general was extremely superstitious, his favorite advisers were alchemist charlatans like Lu Yongzhi and Zhuge Duan. Afraid of bullying from Zhuge Duan, Li’s younger brother could only grieve in private. One time by chance the young man confided in Jing Shisan Niang. She told him: “This is but a trivial matter. No need to worry about it any further, I will take care of everything. Just cross the river, and wait for me by the Beigu mountain in Ren Zhou on June 6th at noon time.”

The young man waited at the foot of the mountain as instructed on that day, and he saw Jing Shisan Niang arriving with a huge sack on her back. Opening the sack, Li’s beloved prostitute jumped out. There were also two heads in the bag, those belonged to her parents.

Afterwards Jing Shisan Niang and Zhao Lizhong went back to Zhejiang together. After that [we] don’t know anymore.

Notes and commentary
* Jing Shisan Niang: Jing: family name. Shisan: thirteen. Niang: woman. So she’s the thirteenth girl in her family.

This tale is from the same book as the previous tale No. 15 Scholar Ding.

荊十三娘

唐進士趙中行家于溫州,以豪俠為事。至蘇州,旅舍支山禪院。僧房有一女商荊十三娘,為亡夫設大祥齋。因慕趙,遂同載歸揚州。

趙以气義耗荊之財,殊不介意。其友人李正郎弟三十九有愛妓,妓之父母,奪与諸葛殷。李悵悵不已。時諸葛殷与呂用之幻惑太尉高駢,姿行威福。李慎禍,飲泣而已。偶話于荊娘,荊娘亦憤惋。謂李三十九郎曰:“此小事,我能為郎仇之。旦請過江,于潤州北固山六月六日正午時待我。”李亦依之。

至期,荊氏以囊盛妓,兼致妓之父母首,歸于李。复与趙同入浙中,不知所止。

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