Portraits of Thirty-three Swordsmen – 22 Li Sheng

No. 22 Li Sheng: killing [him] would not be an act of courage, just make him afraid.

Scholar Li Sheng often travelled around the western mountains of Hong Zhou. On one snowy night, he was drinking with scholar Lu Qi and five or six of his friends when one person had a random comment: “with snow coming down like this, one could not go out.” Li Sheng replied “What do you want, I can go.” The person said: “I have some books in Xingzi, can you get them for me?” Li Sheng said “yes” and left. He returned with the books before the party started dispersing. Xingzi is more than 300 Li (1 Li = 0.5 km) away.

A daoist priest at Youwei Temple was often rude to Li Sheng. Li said to himself “I can’t kill him, I will just make him afraid.” One day, the daoist was sleeping behind closed doors. Li Sheng asked a young servant to knock on the daoist door and retrieve Li’s dagger. When the daoist rose [to answer the door], he saw that the dagger was stuck in front of his bed, the handle still vibrating. From then on he changed his attitude and was always courteous to Li.

* The original word here is chǔ Shi 處士, meaning a scholar who is not an official.





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