Modon qota / Mu yang čeng-ün üliger The City of Wood / The City Where Sheep Are Herded


Cassette: [Cassette for chapter 4 - 7 (pages 129-511) is missing]
Transcription: hdl:11341/0000-0000-0000-2777
Transcription Number: 3 numbers, not in catalogue
Transcription Pages: 515 pp.
Recording: On August 9-10, 1995, Rinčindorǰi recorded the tale from the recitation of the bard Nimaodzer of West Baγarin.
Transcription Note: On December 10, 2010, Rinčindorǰi finished writing down the text.
Peculiarities: -
Further Information: -
Language Archive Cologne: hdl:11341/0000-0000-0000-271E



PDFPages 1-80: The bard Nimaodzer begins the performance of the tale with a song, including verses such as If the wind does not blow the tops of the reeds will not move. / If there is no story of long ago, how can you tell the events? (song pp. 1-3). After this, the bard turns to a recitative mode, saying that he is going to narrate a story of the Tang dynasty. Then we learn that after the disorder of the Sui dynasty is quell, Emperor Taizong Li Shimin of the Tang assumes power of the entire realm. Li Shimin’s virtues reach the sky and his benevolence covers the earth. After conquering the Western Liang, Eastern Liao and Southern Liao, there is no rebellion in the country. The world is at peace, grain grows in the fields and the five species of livestock fill the plains.

Every day early in the morning the Tang Emperor holds court to discuss the affairs of state with his dignitaries. Now the story tells how Emperor Li Shimin holds court at the beginning of the forth lunar month. Then a song relates that when the sky brightens, dignitaries hasten to the audience hall. Those who come from afar ride at top speed to reach the place of the assembly. Others who live in the capital are taken there on palanquins. All of them gather in the hanlong palace at the tiger hour (the time from three to five a.m.), while the scented smoke of incense and juniper fills the palace, and lanterns of different shapes hang from the palace gates (song: pp. 4-9). Another song follows which has Emperor Li Shimin addressing the assembled dignitaries and asking them if there is any news of enemies in the land, with the dignitaries reporting to the emperor that enemies on remote mountains and wide rivers have all been crushed, thanks to the virtue and might of the emperor. They also report to the emperor that no one is committing crimes on the Earth (song: pp. 9-11). Then Li Shimin, flicking his dragon sleeves, addresses his dignitaries, saying: The pride of the leopard and the elephant lies in the power of the high Jilong Mountain. / The peace of the empire lies in the strength of you talented ones! (spoken verse lines: pp. 11-12). When the emperor asks whether there are matters to be discussed or whether the assembly is to be dispersed, someone in the second row on the right stands up. A song relates that this person is none other than the minister and military advisor Xu Maogong. He kneels down, bows his head nine times nine before the emperor, and reports to the throne that enemies have emerged in the North, and that King Bao Gang of the Northern Liao has not brought tribute for seventeen years. Now, he adds, the Bailian frontier fortress has become a battlefield and an army must set out to make war and capture it (song: pp. 12-16).

At this moment, the warrior Yuchi Jingde states that if things are like this in the land of the Mongols (Northern Liao) he will set off. Then the commander Qin Qiong, approaches the throne and reports to the emperor his intention to mobilise an army. On hearing this, Li Shimin orders Qin Qiong and Yuchi Jingde to assume command of the army, taking along Xu Maogong. At this moment, Xu Maogong reports to the emperor how the night before he looked up at the sky and saw that all the stars of the Northern Liao have gathered in one spot, signifying that there will no success if the emperor does not join the military campaign. Li Shimin, who has been on the battlefield since he was young, agrees to set out with the army. Thus it is decided that the auspicious date to start out against the enemy is the fourth day of the fourth lunar month. Then a song relates how at daybreak, when water birds begin to chirp, the sun appears and mist disperses, soldiers hasten to the White Tiger military camp beating drums. Then the commander Qin Qiong enters the armoury. He dons steel armour called Mad Tiger. On his head he puts a helmet called Sea Dragon, with red tassels on it shining brightly. He wears a boot of tiger skin on his right foot, and a boot of antelope hide on his left foot. After this, he heads for the White Tiger military camp, and stable boys bring the horse. The horse is adorned with a huge halter, a fine bridle, a golden bit worth ten ounces of silver, beautiful reins of silk thread, a saddle worth ten hundred thousand ounces of silver, and a saddle cloth of silk to cover it. The saddle straps are worth nine ounces of silver and flutter in the wind like wings. The saddle pommel shows the image of the sun and the moon, shining back and front. Now Qin Qiong is in front of the flag of authority and raises the arrow of command in his right hand. He begins to choose soldiers between the ages of eighteen and twenty-seven. After selecting the troops, Qin Qiong proclaims the regulations for the conduct of the troops during the campaign. They are not to oppress the population. They are not to impose a levy on the people. Nor should they steal the crops or horses. Now Emperor Li Shimin rides to the military camp, and Qin Qiong has the army arranged in accordance with the five elements with their corresponding colours and directions. Yuchi Jingde is appointed the vanguard of the army, raising a red flag, and Qin Huaiyu (?) the leader of an army unit in the west, raising a white flag. Cheng Yaojin takes command of an army unit in the east, raising a blue flag, and Hou Tianwang of the rear guard, raising a black flag. The commander, Qin Qiong , takes the lead with selected troops in the central army, together with Emperor Li Shimin and the army advisor Xu Maogong. When the army is about to set forth, the Crown Prince offers his father Li Shimin a golden cup of wine to drink, while crowds of people wish the army well in defeating the enemy and returning home soon in peace and unscathed (song: pp. 18-35).

Now the army begins to move. It resembles the waves of a sea, going out of the city of Chang’an through the north gate. After this, a song describes the army on the march with their flags of many colours glimmering in the sunlight, and how young soldiers who are going to war bear feelings of sadness at being separated from their homeland and loved ones. The song includes verses commenting on this: Although the young of the lion are strong, / They are unable to separate from the rugged cliff. When the army has marched for thirty miles, they reach the Yellow River , called Queen River by the Mongols. This is when Cheng Yaojin arrives (song: pp. 35-40). Cheng Yaojin , who is also known as hunshi mowang (混 世魔 王) “the devil that creates a world of chaos”, has previously been put in charge of an army unit in the east. When he arrives, Cheng Yaojin tells Li Shimin that before setting out he enjoyed a banquet, lasting three days. He drank wine and fell asleep. This is why he has arrived late. While he was asleep the army left Chang’an without him. A song narrates how Cheng Yaojin kneels down before Emperor Li Shimin and weeps, recalling how he has displayed his valour to the empire, offering his strength to the Tang since the beginning of the dynasty together with his twenty-four “younger brothers” of the stronghold on Erlong Mountain. Cheng Yaojin also promises Li Shimin that he will give up drinking (song: pp. 41-43). After crossing the Yellow River , the army feasts for three days. While all are feasting, Cheng Yaojin asks Li Shimin to let him become the vanguard of the army, since he knows the behaviour of the Northern Mongols (or Northern Liao) because he pacified the North. Li Shimin agrees to his request. A song follows which narrates how the troops continue to march, crossing mountains and fording rivers, until they approach the Hongyan frontier fortress (song: p. 45). The Hongyan fortress lies on the frontier of the Tang Empire. On approaching it, two soldiers are dispatched to the Bailian fortress with a letter, announcing to General Liu of Northern Liao that the Tang troops are arriving. A song explains how the two soldiers present the letter to General Liu who guards the fortress, and how, after reading the letter, General Liu is so frightened that he feels that his soul is leaving his body (song: pp. 46-47). Then spoken verse lines relate that the Tang troops make camp in the middle of a plain five miles away from the Hongyan frontier fortress. They build a wall, hang bows and arrows from a rope and let their horse out to pasture. The Tang troops are so numerous that they fill the earth (pp. 47-48). When General Liu hears that myriads of soldiers of the Tang have arrived, he thinks to himself that although he is an old man he has a young son and warriors under him who can deal with the Tang troops. The next day, the two brothers Kun Dunlong and Kun Dunhu under his command volunteer to go out to fight against the Tang enemy. It is Kun Dunlong who goes out to fight, followed by three thousand soldiers. A song relates that Cheng Yaojin, who has been previously left behind by the army, offers to encounter the enemy Kun Dunlong, determined to strike him with his crescent-bladed axe and his sword. Seeing him, Kun Dunlong asks Cheng Yaojin what his name is. Cheng Yaojin answers that he is the one who holds a crescent-bladed axe in his hand and eliminates the enemy, not even leaving one alive. When Kun Dunlong sees that Cheng Yaojing has a face of five colours, he wonders whether he is a demon or a human. He also has protruding teeth and eyes of steel. The two enemies begin to fight. When Kun Dunlong turns around Cheng Yaojin, the latter swirls around Kun Dunlong. When Cheng Yaojin slashes at Kun Dunlong , the latter pierces the enemy with his weapon. After fighting a fierce battle, Cheng Yaojin feels suffocated. He turns his horse and rides back (song: pp. 49-57). After this, the commander of the Tang army, Qin Qiong, goes out to fight against the two brothers Kun Dunlong and Kun Dunhu and succeeds in defeating them.

At this moment, General Liu sends for his son, Liu Baolian. His son comes and tells his father that he will fight the enemy on that day. A song describes the young warrior Liu Baolian as being a match for a thousand. He wears silver armour and enters the battle riding on a small black horse. He holds a lance in his hand and has a whip hanging from his back. When Qin Qiong, the commander of the Tang army, asks his men which of them will go out to fight, Yuchi Jingde volunteers. Liu Baolian and Yuchi Jingde enter the battle filled with hatred and determined to kill each other. They roar like thunder, and when their weapons clash it is as if the waters of the Anavatapta Sea are dancing and Mount Sumeru is crumbling. The two enemies’ horses run as swiftly as the wind. When Yuchi Jingde turns around Liu Baolian, the latter lashes Yuchi Jingde with his whip. When Liu Baolian strikes Yuchi Jingde with his lance, Yuchi Jingde dodges the blow. They fight a hundred and sixty rounds. When the sun is about to set and the two enemies are still fighting, Emperor Li Shimin , who has been watching the battle, fears for Yuchi Jingde and orders the drum to be beaten call him back (song: pp. 59-65). Although Yuchi Jingde is an unrivalled fighter, he cannot defeat the young hero Liu Baolian. He complains to his people about being called back while he is fighting fiercely. A song tells of Yuchi Jingde having a sleepless night. When the sky brightens, he mounts his black horse and comes out of the camp brandishing his sword. When he begins to fight with Liu Baolian, it is as if Erlig, the King of Hell, has arrived. It is as if lighting is striking. At midday the two rivals have already fought more than a hundred rounds. They fight until sunset, inconclusively. The next day, Yuchi Jingde comes before Emperor Li Shimin and tells him how, with no thoughts for his own life, he has spared no efforts to protect the country, and now he worries about what is going to happen to the country. Li Shimin is anxious, and everyone around him presses their palms together and prays to Father Tngri (song: pp. 67-73).

Yuchi Jingde, meanwhile, thinks to himself that he will fight for the sake of Emperor Li Shimin and the prestige of his clan. This fact is repeated in song. Then the song goes on to narrate how Yuchi Jingde goes out to fight at dawn. On seeing Yuchi Jingde, the young warrior Liu Baolian begins to hurl abuse at him, threatening that he will slit his throat and present his head to his father. The two of them fight six hundred rounds, raising dust that reaches the sky and covers the plains (song: pp. 74-78). When the commander, Qin Qiong, observes that the battle is going badly, he beats the drum to call back Yuchi Jingde. At this moment Liu Baolian begins to yell, asking why the Tang army has invaded his country if their generals only fight half a battle. He also orders the Tang army to surrender to him immediately. Liu Baolian ’s father, who is watching the scene from a watchtower, is very pleased and claps his hands. After this, Liu Baolian goes back to the fortress to celebrate with his father. At the same time, the troops in the Tang camp are in trouble. They worry that they have no more warriors who can defeat the young Liu Baolian. All they can do is to pray to the gods.

PDFPages 80-129: A song relates that this section of the story deals with events occurring in the Bailian fortress, the stronghold of the enemy. While the young Liu Baolian is drinking wine with his father, in a palace in the backyard there is a woman named Ma Chaofei , who is General Liu’s wife. She has grown old and has lost her sight. Ma Chaofei learns that her son Liu Baolian has been fighting for three days (song: pp. 80-81). Servants inform Ma Chaofei that her son has been fighting for three days with the warrior Yuchi Jingde of the Tang army, without winning. On hearing this, Ma Chaofei asks a servant to call her son. When Liu Baolian comes, he tells his mother that he was about to kill the traitor Yuchi Jingde, who although he is a Mongol has betrayed his country and submitted to the Chinese. A song narrates how the mother who carried her son for ten months embraces Liu Baolian and whispers in his ear. Then she takes a cloth with words written on it and gives this to her son. She also gives her son a sword his father left for him when he went from home (song: pp. 83-84). The song which follows recapitulates these events, then it goes on to narrate that the next day Liu Baolian tells his father, General Liu, that on that day he will fight with the traitor Yuchi Jingde and will take him alive. Liu Baolian does not say to him what his mother has told him. Then he comes out of the fortress, crying out, “Old traitor of the Tang, come here!”. Yuchi Jingde gets dressed in a hurry, takes his whip worth ten thousand ounces of silver, mounts his horse holding his weapon high. Seeing Liu Baolian, Yuchi Jingde tells him that his plans are too ambitious for a young man, and that they should let the blades of their weapons decide how the battle will end. The old and the young warriors begin to fight, matching each other’s strength, turning back and forth. They fight about twenty rounds. Cannons fire, raising smoke that reaches the sky, arousing the vigour of the warriors. The two rivals continue to fight, and it as if the Garuda bird , the tiger, the lion and the dragon, the four strong ones , are joining forces. Emperor Li Shimin, who is watching the battle, begins to invoke the gods, asking that they help Yuchi Jingde. After four hundred rounds of combat, Liu Baolian leaves the battlefield and flees towards Xiaohua Mountain in the south-east (song: pp. 85-93).

At this moment, the Tang troops wonder what will become of Yuchi Jingde. He is racing after Liu Baolian and none of them will go to his aid. A song tells how Yuchi Jingde rides after Liu Baolian, shouting that he should wait for him. The two of them reach a hollow in the mountain and get off their horses. Liu Baolian keels down before Yuchi Jingde’s horse (song: p. 94). When Liu Baolian places his sword on his head, Yuchi Jingde recognises his sword and is startled. He wonders why his sword should have ended up with him. This is in fact the sword Yuchi Jingde left for his son and Ma Chaofei gave to Baolian. Then Liu Baolian raises a lance. A cloth is hanging from its tip bearing words written by Ma Chaofei in her own blood. A song narrates how Yuchi Jingde realises that the words on the cloth are written by Ma Chaofei and are meant for him. Ma Chaofei writes how she has endured unbearable suffering for eighteen years, falling victim to the thieving General Liu. Now she wants to let their son meet his father. She also writes that eighteen years have passed since she became his wife, and that their son is now seventeen (song: pp. 96-98).

Now the story explains why Baolian is Yuchi Jingde’s son. The narrative goes back to the time when the rebellion of the Sui dynasty was being suppressed. At this time, the god of Heaven was about to send twenty-eight star spirits to earth to help establish the Tang dynasty. The god of Heaven discussed this with his spouse Mother Wangmu niang niang, concluding that the twenty-eight star spirits were not powerful enough to accomplish the task, and that they should send the lighting star spirits instead. Thus the god of Heaven released the stars from the sleeve of his robe, and the stars descended to different regions of China. When the god of Heaven noticed that a black star was attached to his armpit, he asked the star why it did not go with the others. At this moment, the star expressed the desire to be born in a northern land. It so happened that a sixty-year-old woman gave birth to a piece of dark meat and threw it into the sea. A man whose family name was Jing, found the meat and took it to his home. From the meat a boy with a black face came out. The boy was Yuchi Jingde. Aged four or five, the boy began to frighten the children of the village, and since he was causing trouble for the Jing family, he was given to a man called Ma the Rich. After taking the boy to his home, a song relates how Ma the Rich recognised the qualities of the boy, predicting that he would attain great merit and become a pillar of the country. He also said: Even if the boy is dark-faced, / He surely is a precious gem. Thus, Yuchi Jingde grew up in Ma the Rich’s home, and when he was seven or eight, Ma the Rich married him to his daughter Ma Chaofei (song: pp. 100-101). When the boy Yuchi Jingde heard that the Northern Liao people were fighting against the Tang dynasty, he wanted to go to war. It was not until he was seventeen that Yuchi Jingde left home to fight against the Tang army. After he was defeated by General Qin Qiong of the Tang army, Yuchi Jingde submitted to the Tang dynasty. When Yuchi Jingde left home, his wife Ma Chaofei was three months pregnant with their son, and since Yuchi Jingde forgot about her and her father had died, General Liu abducted Ma Chaofei.

Yuchi Jingde meets his son Baolian for the first time on Xiaohua Mountain, then the two of them come down from the mountain. As Yuchi Jingde and his son approach the fortress, General Liu catches sight of them from a watchtower. Then a song narrates that, after entering the fortress, Yuchi Jingde shouts: “Where is the wicked General Liu?”. At this moment the young Baolian, following his mother’s words, begins to kill General Liu’s soldiers, and it is as if a wildfire is raging. It is as if a hungry tiger falls on a sheep. He smashes to pieces their tibia, ribs and shoulders and splits their limbs apart. Some soldiers beg in vain for their lives. Human bones are piled as high as a mountain. Yuchi Jingde takes General Liu alive, then he opens the four gates of the Bailian fortress, letting the Tang army in. Yuchi Jingde, the song continues, lets Emperor Li Shimin meet his son Baolian (song: pp. 106-111). When asked by Li Shimin how he met his son, Yuchi Jingde gives the Emperor an account of the events. On hearing about Yuchi Jingde’s wife, Li Shimin is moved and says that he will meet her. Yuchi Jingde and his son Baolian head for Ma Chaofei’s home. They knock on the door, but Ma Chaofei will not come out. She tears the paper that covers the window and, turning her head away, she greets her husband Yuchi Jingde. A song tells how Ma Chaofei greets Yuchi Jingde from behind the window, not daring to look at him. Then she tells him how his unhappy wife has endured suffering in that place, how she has been waiting for him, and how she has brought up their son until the age of seventeen. After wishing that her husband and son accomplish great deeds for the country, Ma Chaofen takes a sword that is hanging from the wall and cuts her head off with it. Seeing this, Yuchi Jingde and his son Baolian rush inside. Baolian takes up his mother’s head from the ground, and raising it high he begins to grieve bitterly. When news of Ma Chaofei’s death reach Emperor Li Shimin and his dignitaries, all of them are sorrowful (song: pp. 112-117). All wear white robes and mourn Ma Chaofei, whose body is laid in a golden coffin. A temple to Ma Chaofen is built on the south side of Xiaohua Mountain. The day of the sacrifice, the wicked General Liu is brought there. Yuchi Jingde cuts open his chest with a sword, plucks his heart out from his chest, and offers it as a sacrifice to his dead wife.

A song narrates that after three days of mourning, and after conquering the enemy in the Bailian fortress, the army of the Tang sets forth and reaches a fortress of the Northern Liao ruled by King Tie Lian who has three sons named Tieli Muya, Tieli Juya, and Tieli Babao (song: pp. 118-119). He calls his three sons to him and tells them that the army of the Tang have conquered the Bailian fortress , killed General Liu, and that Liu’s son, Baolian, is now known as Yuchi Baolian. King Tie Lian and his sons inform their ruler King Bao Gang about all that has happened. King Bao Gang rules over the City of Wood, the capital of Northern Liao. On hearing the news, King Bao Gang summons his troops from all the places to the City of Wood. A song relates that King Bao Gang orders the troops to let the army of the Tang cross their territory, leave the fortresses and the City of Wood empty, without fighting them (song: pp. 120-121). At this time, Cheng Yaojin, the vanguard of the Tang army, is marching ahead with thirty horsemen. He enters the fortresses the enemy have abandoned, feasting and drinking wine. A song relates that by this time the troops of the Tang have approached the City of Wood, pitching camp fifty miles from the city and putting their horse out to pasture (song: pp. 122-124). While the troops of the Tang are in the camp in a carefree mood, thinking that their victory in Bailian fortress has scared the enemy away, King Bao Gang of Northern Liao is telling his men that after the Tang troops enter the empty City of Wood, four hundred thousand soldiers should surround the city, laying siege to the four city gates and letting them starve to death inside. He also has a stronghold built on the top of Jinliang Mountain to the north of city, protected by eight hundred thousand soldiers.

A song narrates how, at this time, Cheng Yaojin enters the empty City of Wood , eats mutton and drinks wine, and how he spends the night there, without fearing the enemy (song: pp. 125-126). The next day, Cheng Yaojin sends men to the camp of the Tang, inviting Emperor Li Shimin and the army to come to the City of Wood. They will not go because the military advisor Xu Maogong has seen an inauspicious mist hanging over the top of Jinliang Mountain. When the commander, Qin Qiong, states that no such mist can be seen over the mountain, they enter the City of Wood and occupy it.

PDFPages 129-312: This section of the story begins with Xu Shulun , the commander of Northern Liao , summoning dignitaries and warriors. Then a song relates that Su Shulun orders the three brothers Tieli Muya, Tieli Juya, and Tieli Babao to take a hundred thousand soldiers and go to occupy the Bailian fortress, Yimen Quan fortress, and Kunmen Quan fortress, respectively. Should the army of the Tang go back, he adds, they must block their way (song: pp. 129-132). After this, four hundred thousand soldiers surround the City of Wood. Firing cannons and beating drums, soldiers shout: “Robbers of the Tang, come out to fight!”. The troops of the Tang who entered the empty City of Wood have fallen into the enemy’s trap. At this moment, Yuchi Jingde tells his men that the next day he and other warriors will go to the city west gate to ascertain what the situation is. Thus, as a song narrates, Yuchi Jingde, his son Baolian, and commander Qin Qiong, the three of them, head for the west gate, shouting: “Watch out for our weapons!”. After blaming the Northern Liao people for not bringing tribute to the Tang Emperor, the three of them order the enemy to throw their weapons to the ground and dismount from their horses. This angers the commander of Northern Liao, Su Shulun , who rushes to the scene to fight the three of them (song: pp. 134-136). Su Shulun is thirteen spans tall. He has a dragon’s head, protruding teeth and eyes of steel. He is so strong that he can carry thousands of jing on his shoulders. Now a song tells us about Xu Shulun riding on an antelope and holding a heavy crescent-bladed axe that not even the gods possess. Su Shulun attacks Yuchi Jingde, his son and Qin Qiong, the three of them, from all directions, almost making them fall from their horses. Their horses ride as fast as the wind, and the three warriors are unable to hold their heavy weapons in their hands. Since no one can match Xu Shulun in battle, Yuchi Jingde, his son and Qin Qiong go back to the camp and tell Emperor Li Shimin that Su Shulun is invincible. On hearing this, the Emperor is alarmed, and heaving a sigh he says: “What should we do now?” (song: pp. 136-138). Li Shimin and the army have no other choice but to stay in the City of Wood under siege. When the troops run out of provisions after three months, Cheng Yaojin discovers that the east gate is guarded by an official of Northern Liao who is a mediocre fighter. One night, the young Yuchi Baolian stealthily opens the east gate, followed by two thousand soldiers. They succeed in stealing forty carts full of provisions from the enemy.

Seven years pass and the City of Wood is still under siege. One day, Emperor Li Shimin entrusts Cheng Yaojin with the task of going to Chang’an to select valiant young warriors and come back leading an army of four hundred thousand soldiers to help them. Cheng Yaojin agrees to carry out the task. A song narrates how Cheng Yaojin comes to the south gate in the middle of the night and how forty warriors of Northern Liao see him and don armour. Then the fierce Su Shulun rushes forward, brandishing his weapons. When Cheng Yaojin sees the enemy, he feels as if his soul has deserted his body. He has no chance of escape. He has no faith to pray. He has no strength to fight. The moment Su Shulun strikes him a blow with his two double-bladed swords, Cheng Yaojin is already flying skywards. He rides on clouds and the wind, escaping death. His steed tramples over tall trees, then it comes down, and Cheng Yaojin finds himself in a different place (song: pp. 157-160).

It so happened that the master Su Ding, living in a cave on the mountain in the south-east knew that Cheng Yaojin was coming on that day. He has sent his female disciple, Xu Ying, to rescue him so that he will not be killed by the enemy, Su Shulun. Xu Ying made a magic wind blow, causing Cheng Yaojin to fly through the air. After Xu Ying saves his life, Cheng Yaojin sets forth towards Chang’an, his homeland. Cheng Yaojin’s journey is described in song (pp. 165-168). On reaching the Yellow River, Cheng Yaojin thinks to himself how he came to the Yellow River seven years ago. A song narrates that Cheng Yaojin reaches Chang’an and, feeling happy, observes that the city palaces as high as Mount Sumeru. When he enters the city gate, everyone greets him, asking about the troops who went to war against Northern Liao (song: pp. 168-170). Then Cheng Yaojin goes to the palace of the late warrior Luo Cheng and meets his wife Zhuang Jinding. After the greetings, Cheng Yaojin tells her how he has come from the besieged City of Wood, and when he asks her where her son Luo Tong is, Zhuang Jinding says that her son is ill and she will send him to his palace the next day. Luo Tong is not ill. He is in the White Tiger military camp, practising his fighting skills. A song relates how Cheng Yaojin goes to his palace, and how his wife meets him and greets him (song: pp. 174-178). While husband and wife are talking about their son, Cheng Tianju, who practises his skill in arms every day, comes home. When Cheng Yaojin asks his son if he is versed in the use of the crescent-bladed axe, he says that he is not. A song relates how Cheng Yaojin and his son go to the courtyard, and how Cheng Yaojin teaches his son how to use the crescent-bladed axe in battle, which they do until the middle of the night (song: pp. 179-180).

At this time, Luo Tong’s mother, who is unwilling to let her son go to war, is telling Luo Tong that from the next day onwards he should not leave the house. Luo Tong reluctantly complies with his mother’s words. A song describes Luo Tong staying at home, while the other young warriors come to the training field, asking Cheng Yaojin how the war against Northern Liao is progressing. Cheng Yaojin tells the young warriors how he managed to come out of the besieged City of Wood (song: pp. 182-184). Then Cheng Yaojin goes on to tell them how the enemy almost killed him, and that he has come back to recruit valiant young warriors and lead an army in order to help to defeat the enemy and free Emperor Li Shimin from the City of Wood. Cheng Yaojin ’s words arouse the young warriors’ fighting spirit. A song relates that, after meeting the Empress and the Crown Prince, Cheng Yaojin heads for the training field, where he will select mighty young warriors. Here, Cheng Yaojin raises the flag and the arrow of military authority before the assembled five hundred young warriors. Qin Huaiyu, Qin Qiong’s son and the oldest among the warriors, has come, but Luo Tong is not there. Now Cheng Yaojin puts the warriors’ strength and skill in arms to the test. It is Qin Huaiyu who succeeds in raising a tripod weighing three thousand jing. He also proves to be an excellent marksman, shooting an arrow at a hole in the middle of a coin, without missing the mark. After selecting the warriors and gathering the provisions for army, Cheng Yaojin will set forth, leading an army of four hundred thousand soldiers. A song relates how the twenty-fifth day of the eight lunar month is selected as the auspicious date for setting forth, and that, at daybreak, soldiers don armour, saddle their horses and assemble in the training field (song: pp. 197-199).

A song narrates that when the army is about to set out, Luo Tong’s mother comes and tells Cheng Yaojin that Luo Tong is still ill and asks him to burn incense and pray to Heaven for her son’s recovery. Cheng Yaojin does as he is told. Then the song goes on to say that although the smoke of incense is thin, it reaches the edge of the sky, and if the thoughts of men are sincere, they reach the god of Heaven. At this moment, the god of Heaven tells the god of the land that Luo Tong must go to war, and the god of the land goes where Luo Tong is. While Luo Tong is asleep, the god of the land approaches him and speaks his name in his ear. Luo Tong wakes up, and hearing a noise in his ear he wonders where the noise comes from. When he realises that the noise comes from the White Tiger military camp where Cheng Yaojin is calling out the soldiers’ names, he leaps to his horse without saddle and bridle and rides to the camp (song: pp. 199-202). When Luo Tong arrives, all the soldiers welcome him with cheering, which sounds like a flood descending from a mountain. The hero Luo Tong is a match for a thousand men. Luo Tong greets Cheng Yaojin, who tells him to go back and don his father Luo Cheng’s armour and helmet, take his weapons, harness his horse and return quickly. A song narrates how Luo Tong goes back and orders servants to saddle his horse and bring armour and helmet and his spear. A saddle worth a thousand ounces of silver is put on the horse and a white cloth of silk is placed over the saddle. The saddle pommel shows the image of the sun and the moon, flashing beams of light back and front. Eighty-one saddle thongs flutter in the breeze. Luo Tong’s mount is called White Dragon foal. After putting on his father’s silver armour and helmet, Luo Tong mounts his horse and goes to take leave of his mother (song: pp. 203-207). Another song describes Luo Tong’s mother as being moved to tears at parting. She is also happy at seeing her son wearing his father’s armour and helmet. She tells her son that she hopes he will defeat the enemy and come back safe and sound. The time has come for Luo Tong to protect the country (song: pp. 207-212).

After taking the flag and the arrow of military authority, Luo Tong assumes command of the whole army. A song praises Luo Tong as being a star of the sky and a branch of a golden tree. It describes Luo Tong addressing the troops, saying that they are setting out on a distant campaign to destroy the enemy of Northern Liao. Then Luo Tong has the troops arranged according to the five elements with their corresponding colours and directions: red in the front, white in the east, blue in the west, black in the rear, and yellow in the centre. Provisions for the army are loaded onto carts, including gold and silver, armour and helmets, liquor and meat. After this, the troops go out of the city of Chang’an through the north gate, while the Empress and her son see the troops off, wishing them success. Then the troops begin to march northwards (song: pp. 213-225). After three days, the troops cross the Yellow River and have a feast. A song describes Cheng Yaojin drinking wine and falling asleep on the bank of the river. After resuming the march, the troops take the road towards the west, instead of taking the road leading to the City of Wood . They continue to march until they reach the southern slope of a mountain and make their camp (song: pp. 226-229). The troops, mistakenly, have come to Western Liao . Now the story gives an account of the two brothers Shan Tianjin and Shan Tianlong, who live on the mountain top. Their father Shan Shuxian has been killed by the late warrior Luo Cheng, and the two brothers have been waiting for the army to arrive to avenge their father’s death. Shan Tianlong notices that the army has a flag bearing the word “Luo” and assumes that the army is marching towards the besieged City of Wood to which Emperor Li Shimin has been confined for seven years. The two brothers plan to penetrate the army and seize and kill Luo Tong , who is Luo Cheng’s son. In the middle of the night the two of them secretly enter a forest, followed by five hundred soldiers. Luo Tong is awake in his tent. A song narrates that Luo Tong takes his weapon, mounts his horse and goes out to patrol the area. As he enters the forest, his horse hears a noise and begins to neigh with the voice of a foal, alarming Luo Tong. He dismounts from the horse, and enters a hollow and waits there. In the meantime, the two brothers Shan Tianjin and Shan Tianlong are about to infiltrate the camp of the Tang army (song: pp. 231-233).

Shan Tianjin and Shan Tianlong tell each other that Luo Tong is staying in the White Tiger tent in the middle the camp, and that they should enter the tent, take him to the mountain and kill him. Luo Tong hears what the two brothers are saying. He ties his horse to a tree, takes his weapon, comes up to them and seizes the two brothers . He begins to shout, waking up the soldiers in the camp. Soldiers come, grab the two brothers and put them in the cart for criminals. When asked who they are, they say that they are Shan Shuxian’s two sons, and not knowing what army has come to the mountain they want to find it out. Luo Tong does not believe them. A song follows which narrates that the vanguard of the army, Cheng Yaojin, being drunk, has led the army to the wrong place. When he gets up, Cheng Yaojin discovers that Shan Shuxian’s two sons have been taken prisoner. He says that they will not kill them. They will take them along to Northern Liao to support their army. On hearing this, the two brothers are very pleased and, bowing their heads before Cheng Yaojin, they promise that they will offer their help to his army with the strength of an ox and a horse, and that they will no longer harbour hatred for the wrong done to their father (song: pp. 234-238). Another song describes the Tang troops leaving Western Liao, where they have arrived, and how they begin to march north. The army approaches the Hongyan frontier fortress which is guarded by General Wang Fengjin. When the latter hears that Cheng Yaojin is the vanguard of a large army, he wonders how he managed to find an opening to escape from the besieged City of Wood (song: pp. 238-239). Wang Fengjin gives the Tang troops a feast, thinking that, once they reach the Bailian fortress generals and soldiers will deal with them. When the Tang troops approach the Bailian fortress, spies inform the commander of the fortress, Tieli Muya, that an army has arrived so large that it covers the plain. Tieli Muya climbs a watchtower and sees that Luo Tong and his army have arrived. Then Luo Tong shoots an arrow with a letter attached to it over the wall of the fortress. In the letter, Luo Tong writes that whoever is guarding the fortress should come out and have a taste of his spear. After reading the letter, Tieli Muya sends out the warrior Tieli Shan (?) to fight Luo Tong, but Cheng Yaojin decides not to send out Luo Tong, sending out Shan Tianjin instead. As was narrated before, Shan Tianjin and Shan Tianlong are the two brothers who attempted to kill Luo Tong, then joined the Tang army.

Now a song narrates that, after fighting eighty rounds, Shan Tianjin realises that he cannot overcome the enemy and flees. Then Cheng Yaojin’s son, Cheng Tianju, comes out to fight Tieli Shan, holding high his crescent-bladed axe. He hits Tieli Shan with it, cutting him in two (song. pp. 241-244). Then Shan Tianjin, who was defeated by Tieli Shan, is put into the cart for criminals. When the young warrior Wang Baolong of Northern Liao comes out of the fortress, Shan Tianlong is sent out to fight him. A song relates how Tieli Shan and Shan Tianlong fight back and forth, and how Shan Tianlong thinks to himself that if he is defeated he will be put into the cart for criminals like his brother, and that in one way or another he will be killed. Shan Tianlong is killed by a single blow of Wang Baolong’s long lance. After this, Qin Huaiyu of the Tang army comes out to confront Wang Baolong. He spurs his yellowish horse, holding high a long lance. The cries of the two enemies rumble like thunder, and when their weapons clash it is as if the blue sky is collapsing and a fire is blazing. After over a hundred rounds of combat, Wang Baolong feels as if his soul is deserting his body and his mind is leaving his heart. He is in a predicament. He has no longer the courage to fight. Nor has he a chance to flee. His weapon slashes the air. Wang Baolong turns back, but Qin Huaiyu , who is pursuing him, takes his sword and hits him on his head with it. Wang Baolong falls from his horse face up. After this, Luo Tong and Cheng Yaojin celebrate Qin Huaiyu’s victory (song: pp. 244-250).

Another song narrates that next day Tieli Muya of the Northern Liao comes out of the fortress to fight, riding on a chestnut horse and holding a one hundred and twenty-toothed spear. Qin Huaiyu re-enters the battle. He dons armour and helmet and grabs a lance showing the image of twenty-four tigers, then he rides to the battlefield escorted by two thousand soldiers (song: pp. 251-254). Qin Huaiyu is nine spans tall, and his noble face resembles that of a god. He can carry a weight of thousand jing on his shoulders. The song which follows depicts Tieli Muya of Northern Liao as having a red beard and a face as grey as ash, and holding a dangerous spear in his hand. After stating their names, the enemies begin to fight, hurling abuse. After fighting two hundred rounds, Qin Huaiyu can no longer cope with Tieli Muya. Seeing this, Cheng Yaojin beats the drum to call him back, and Tieli Muya hurls insults at the Tang people for fearing to battle with him. At this moment, Luo Tong offers to go out to fight Tieli Muya, but Cheng Yaojin sends Su Long instead. When going out to fight, Su Long wonders why he should be sent to fight the fierce warrior Tieli Muya, whom not even a mighty warrior like Qin Huaiyu managed to defeat. Tieli Muya and Su Long fight until sunset, and when Su Long is about to flee the battlefield, Tieli Muya strikes him with his spear, reducing Su Long to minced meat. After this, Cheng Yaojin sends out Su Long’s younger brother, Su Bao. When the latter pleads with Cheng Yaojin for his life, saying that if his older brother has been defeated, it is useless send him to fight, Cheng Yaojin orders Su Bao to be seized. Surprised, Luo Tong asks Cheng Yaojin why he has let Su Long be killed in battle and ordered Su Bao to be seized (song pp. 257-269). Cheng Yaojin, at this point, reveals to Luo Tong what he does not yet know. Cheng Yaojin tells Luo Tong that the two brothers’ father, King Su Tian, killed his grandfather and father, and he took the two Su brothers along with the army, in order to let him kill them and take revenge on them. Now one brother has been killed in fighting and the other one has been captured. A song follows which describes Luo Tong going out to encounter Tieli Muya of Northern Liao. Luo Tong rides the White Dragon foal , holding a spear as hard as a diamond. His anger reaches the sky and he is determined to fight to the death. The two enemies fight with all their might, whirling their heavy weapons. From the battle field red misty dust rises into the air. When the two rivals’ weapons clash, it is as if a thunderbolt is striking, and the four seas are splashing. It is as if a wildfire is setting aflame dry trees, and the young of the bird Garuda are spreading their wings. After fighting eight hundred rounds, Tieli Muya’s weapon becomes lethal, Luo Tong flees the battlefield and goes back to the camp (song: pp. 272-277). With Luo Tong defeated, the Tang army has no more men who can defeat the enemy. A song describes Cheng Yaojin being in distress after Luo Tong’s defeat, and how Luo Tong is sleeping in his White Tiger tent (song: pp. 278-280). Luo Tong has a dream of a man approaching him. He has sparkling eyes and wears silver white armour and silver helmet. He tells Luo Tong to get up, and Luo Tong does as he is told. Luo Tong also sees an old man coming into the tent who is dressed in a blue brocade robe and walks leaning on a cane. They are Luo Tong ’s deceased father and grandfather. A song continues to describe Luo Tong’s dream in which Luo Tong’s father, Luo Cheng, asks his son why his mother did not teach him how to hold the spear with skill when galloping towards the enemy. If he does not perfect this art, he goes on, it will be difficult for him to conquer Northern Liao. Thus, in a dream, Luo Tong’s father teaches his son how to use the spear skilfully (song: 281-284).

As a song relates, Luo Tong is now well trained in the use of the spear and encounters the enemy Tieli Muya in high spirits. Tieli Muya assumes that Luo Tong has not yet perfected the skill with the spear, and thinks to himself that if he flees the battlefield he will not let him go freely, and even if he gets into the snake pit he will smoke him out. When the two enemies begin to fight, Luo Tong waves his precious spear. The Heaven-gate spear. The Earth-gate spear. The four-sided spear. The spear that takes life. The spear that seeks the heart. Luo Tong pierces the enemy eighty-nine times with the spear, and Tieli Muya falls from his horse and dies. His horse runs chaotically hither and thither (song: pp. 288-295). After conquering the Bailian fortress, Luo Tong and the troops set out for the besieged City of Wood. Before reaching it, Luo Tong defeats the general Tieli Jinya (?) who is guarding the Yimen Quan fortress. Afterwards, they come to the Yimen Quan fortress, which is guarded by the general Tieli Babao, who is known as a tough fighter. A song describes Luo Tong riding forth to encounter Tieli Babao, who comes to the battlefield shouting in a loud voice, causing anyone who sees him to tremble with fear. Grabbing a spear of brass five fathoms long, Tieli Babao asks Luo Tong what his name is and where he is from. Luo Tong answers that he is one of twenty-eight stars of the sky and a pillar of the Tang Empire, and that he has come with his army to conquer Northern Liao . Then Luo Tong orders Tieli Babao to throw his weapon to the ground, dismount from his horse, and fold his hands, also stating that his order is the same as the order of the King of Hell . After this, Tieli Babao fights with Luo Tong (song: pp. 307-312).

PDFPages 312-435: The song goes on to tell us that now the events of the story begins in the city of Chang’an. After Luo Tong has gone to war, his mother Zhuang Dingjing is left with her adopted son Luo Ren, whom she rears in an iron cart (pp. 312-313). The story, at this point, describes the fourteen-year-old Luo Ren as being exceptionally strong and a voracious eater, and since he is hurting the children he plays with, his mother keeps him in an iron cart. One day, after hearing from two men who bring him food that his older brother Luo Tong has gone to war in Northern Liao, Luo Ren decides to set forth in search of him. Wearing only a cloth around his waist and with an iron axle in his hand, the hero Luo Ren sets out on foot. A song narrates how Luo Ren comes out of Chang’an through the north gate and begins to march, crossing mountains and rivers. He travels day and night, and when he meets people on the way he begs for food. He passes through ravines at night, and walks along roads by day. He traverses thousands of mountains and rivers, and when he has nothing to eat, he kills tigers and wolves and eats them. After marching for more than three months, Luo Ren climbs to the top of Yunliang Mountain (song: pp. 318-321). From there Luo Ren looks down and sees horsemen fighting in the middle of a vast plain. Thinking that his people are there, he descends from the mountain. A song also narrates that at this moment Luo Tong is fighting with Tieli Babao of Northern Liao and Luo Tong’s spear has failed to pierce the enemies many times. He is in danger and frightened. Luo Tong flees the battlefield and Tieli Babao rides after him, crying: “Robber Luo Tong, where are you going? Have a taste of my weapon!”. Just then Luo Ren appears, shouting at Tieli Babao not to kill his older brother (song: pp. 322-324). Tieli Babao sees Luo Ren and laughs, saying that the affairs of two countries at war should not concern him. After telling Tieli Babao that he is Luo Tong’s younger brother, Luo Ren raises his iron axle and strikes Tieli Babao with all his strength, reducing horse and rider to a pulp. A song follows which narrates how Luo Ren meets his older brother Luo Tong, and how the Tang troops resume their march, taking Luo Ren along (song: pp. 327-329). Now the story tells us that on Huanglong Mountain there is a talented maiden called Du Laonu. We learn that when Du Laonu was five years old, the wind blew her to a mountain cave where the master Wangzan Laozu lived. When she turned eighteen, the master sent her to Huanglong Mountain to support the army of the Tang, which by this time has reached the mountain. Du Laonu was adopted by King Bao Gang of Northern Liao and put in charge of a stronghold on Huanglong Mountain . A song relates that the mountain is located to the south of the City of Wood. After making a divination, the maiden Du Laonu discovers that the Tang army has arrived, and the time has come for her to encounter Luo Ren in battle. Thus she comes to battle determined to kill Luo Ren. When Luo Ren raises his iron axle to strike, Du Laonu takes a spear out of a bag her master gave her and throws it at Luo Ren. At this moment Luo Ren’s soul soars into the sky. Seeing that Luo Ren has been killed, Luo Tong comes up to Du Laonu filled with hatred and determined to kill her. When she asks him what his name is, Luo Tong says that he is Luo Tong , Luo Ren’s older brother, and the commander of the Tang army. Then Luo Tong asks her what hatred she harboured towards Luo Ren that made her kill him. On hearing these words, the maiden Du Laonu dismounts from her horse, saying to Luo Tong that she will give herself to him, and that it is for him to decide whether she will live or die. Du Laonu also tells Luo Tong that she did not kill Luo Ren deliberately. It was her master who gave her the order to do it to fulfil the will of Heaven. Luo Tong does not attach much importance to her words, and goes on to ask her why she killed Luo Ren . When Luo Tong is on the point of striking her with his spear, Du Laonu produces a magic flag and waves it, reciting spells, then she soars into mid-air. From there she tells Luo Tong that she did not harbour any hatred for Luo Ren , and because Luo Ren was an incarnation of the Tiger Star, the time had come for him to return to the sky. She also mentions her master as saying that she should marry into the Luo family and that she is willing to give herself to Luo Tong (song: pp. 330-344). Now Luo Tong tells Du Laonu that the matter of the marriage will discussed later, and if she is truly sincere she should let his troops cross the mountain so they can proceed to the City of Wood . In addition, he says, she should hand over to him his adoptive father, King Bao Gang. A song relates how Luo Tong and the army set out towards the City of Wood and how Luo Tong is saddened by the death of Luo Ren and thinks constantly of him. He has a temple with a golden roof built for Luo Ren , and offerings are made there each season. Finally, the troops approach the City of Wood (song. pp. 345-350).

After pitching camp ten miles away from the City of Wood, Luo Tong decides to go to the besieged city to investigate events. This fact is narrated in a song, which has Luo Tong telling Cheng Yaojin about his plan to go to the City of Wood to inform the Tang army that the auxiliary troops have arrived (song: pp. 350-353). In the middle of the night, Luo Tong sets off alone, thinking of shooting an arrow with a written message attached to it and letting it fly over the city wall so that he can inform Tang army in the besieged city that the auxiliary troops have arrived. A song describes how the brave Luo Tong , the incarnation of the White Tiger Star, comes to the City of Wood and how the city is encircled by rows of soldiers from Northern Liao (song: pp. 353-357). When Luo Tong reaches the south gate of the city, a man looks down from the wall and recognises him as Luo Cheng ’s son. The man is none other than King Su Tian, who has killed Luo Tong’s grandfather and father, but Luo Tong has never seen him before. When Luo Tong asks him what his name is, the other says that his name is Tie Qin and that he and his brother Tie Lian are in the Emperor Li Shimin’s retinue. Tie Qin also urges Luo Tong to come to the east gate of the city. A song relates that while Luo Tong is about to reach the east gate, cannons fire and drums sound and General Yu Lianhua of Northern Liao rushes out to fight him, followed by myriads of soldiers. Only now does Luo Tong realise that the man who said that his name was Tie Qin tricked him into coming to the east gate. Luo Tong fights with Yu Lianhua, killing him with his precious spear. When Luo Tong reaches the east gate, the two brothers Ma Wenlong and Ma Wenqi of Northern Liao rush to fight him, shouting that they will take Luo Tong alive and deliver him to King Bao Gang. While Luo Tong is fighting with the two enemies, he recites spells and lets his magic spear fly, killing both of them. When Luo Tong begins to kill the multitude of soldiers who have escorted the two enemies, it is like a wolf amid a flock of sheep. The soldiers who survive throw their weapons to the ground. After a long time fighting, Luo Tong’s silver white armour is stained with blood and turns red. Then Luo Tong encounters the enemy soldiers while he is heading for the west gate of the city. Some of the soldiers feel numb and fall to ground, some pray, some others escape. The fierce general Su Shulun, who is a match for a thousand men, stands guard at the west gate (song. pp. 361-372). When Su Shulun hears clamouring voices, his soldiers tell him that an unknown man with a red face and mounted on a red horse has arrived. On hearing this, Su Shulun rushes towards Luo Tong. The ensuing duel is described in song. When Su Shulun comes to hack at Luo Tong, the latter dodges his thrust. When Su Shulun whirls around Luo Tong, the latter strikes him. After a thousand rounds of combat, Luo Tong’s energy weakens. Just then Luo Tong hears explosions that frighten him. When he looks he sees that the Tang army led by Cheng Yaojin has reached the west gate of the City of Wood (song: pp. 375-381).

After entering the city, commander Qin Qiong , Luo Tong and other warriors begin to fight Su Shulun, surrounding him on all sides. They are about to seize him, when the maiden Du Laonu comes to the scene to help them. She recites spells and captures Su Shunlun with a rope, taking him alive. Songs interspersed with short recitative passages follow. After Su Shunlun has been captured with a rope, Cheng Yaojin thanks Du Laonu for her help, but Luo Tong is irritated with her. Laughing coldly, Luo Tong tells the maiden that they were in the middle of the fighting and could have seized Su Shulun without her intervention. Afterwards, news comes that Su Shulun has managed to escape. Luo Tong and other warriors go after him, galloping at full speed until they overtake him. After fighting among trees and rocks, Luo Tong seizes Su Shulun. With Su Shulun captured and his troops destroyed, Emperor Li Shimin and the army celebrate their victory over Northern Liao . Luo Tong bows his head before Emperor Li Shimin, who offers him a blue ceremonial silk scarf and a cup of wine. Then, in recognition of his achievements, Li Shimin lets Luo Tong become his adopted son. Su Shulun will be executed by Luo Tong himself.

Now Du Laonu, the adopted daughter of the defeated King Bao Gang of Northern Liao , is given in marriage to Luo Tong. Du Laonu comes to a high tower where the wedding will be celebrated, which is attended by Emperor Li Shimin and his dignitaries. Du Laonu is dressed in a red silk robe with cloud and lotus flower motifs, and wears shoes of soft red silk. After the wedding feast is over, Luo Tong and the bride retire to their room. When Luo Tong remains silent for a long time, Du Luonu asks him if he still thinking of his dead younger brother Luo Ren. Saddened by the untimely death of Luo Ren, Luo Tong tells Du Laonu that he will not live with her and has been waiting for the day to avenge Luo Ren’s death. Luo Tong takes a sword and levels it at her throat, and when Du Laonu emits a hoarse sound and begs him to stop, Luo Tong cuts her throat with a thrust of his sword. Hearing noise and cries, servants hurry to the room where Du Laonu is lying dead. Once news that Luo Tong has killed his wife reaches Emperor Li Shimin, he becomes furious and has Luo Tong summoned. When Luo Tong appears before Li Shimin, the latter demotes him from his rank, depriving him of the sword, flag and seal of military authority. Li Shimin then orders Luo Tong to be executed, but Cheng Yaojin begs him to save Luo Tong ’s life in consideration that he has avenged his younger brother whom Du Laonu killed. When King Bao Gang of Northern Liao and Du Laonu ’s adoptive father also pleads with Li Shimin for Luo Tong ’s life, Li Shimin insists that Luo Tong’s crime merits death. Then the military advisor Xu Maogong advises Li Shimin to listen to King Bao Gang’s plea, because, he says, the peace of the Empire also depends on the alliance with the King of Northern Liao. Furthermore, Xu Maogong suggests that Li Shimin should punish Luo Tong by prohibiting him from ever taking a wife again. Li Shimin agrees with the suggestion and issues an order accordingly. Now the bard Nimaodzer tells his listeners that he will stop narrating the tale at this point, and will go on after taking his midday rest.

PDFPages 436-490: The story goes on to narrate how Emperor Li Shimin and the army begin to move towards Chang’an. Although Luo Tong has conquered Northern Liao he has committed a crime and will no longer lead the army. Stopping at midday for a meal, and making camp for the night, the troops reach the Bailian frontier fortress. The generals Cheng Tianju and Qin Huaiyu are appointed commanders of the fortress and left here to guard it. On reaching the Hongyan fortress within the land of the Tang, the commander of the fortress invites Li Shimin and his officials to a banquet. While feasting together, Li Shimin feels tired after the long journey and falls asleep. He has a premonitory dream, predicting his campaign against Ge Suwen of Eastern Liao . After this, Emperor Li Shimin and the army continue their journey to Chang’an.

After returning to Chang’an, Li Shimin with his dignitaries and generals celebrate their victory over Northern Liao , after twelve years of war. Luo Tong’s mother, Zhuang Jinding, who has been longing for her son’s return, hears that the army has returned to Chang’an and hurries to the imperial palace, where a great feast is taking place. Here Zhuang Jinding meets Cheng Yaojin, who gives her the bad news that Luo Tong has killed his wife and her body has been taken to Chang’an to be buried in the Luo family’s grave. Shocked by the news, Zhuang Jinding relives the horror of Luo Tong’s father killing his seventy-two wives.

One day, Cheng Yaojin is walking home, when General Xi Danian who also fought in Northern Liao, follows behind him and tells Cheng Yaojin that he lives nearby and invites him to his house. When in Xi Danian’s house Cheng Yaojin sees a girl crying aloud and acting wildly, he asks his host who the girl is. Xi Danian tells him that the girl is his only daughter Xi Niang, aged eighteen. He confides to him that his daughter is afflicted by an incurable mental illness and he worries about what will become of her in the future. On hearing this, Cheng Yaojin comforts Xi Danian, saying that he will find a husband for his daughter, and will talk to Emperor Li Shimin about her marriage. Cheng Yaojin succeeds in persuading Li Shimin to let the girl Xi Niang marry Luo Tong, in spite of the fact that Li Shimin has forbidden Luo Tong from marrying again. Thus the girl Xi Niang is taken to Luo Tong’s official residence, where the marriage is celebrated to the astonishment of Luo Tong’s mother and the members of the household, who wonder whether the bride is a demon or a madwoman.

PDFPages 490-511: Now the story tells us how the marriage to Xi Niang causes unhappiness to Luo Tong. He begins to long for his wife Du Laonu, whom he killed, wishing she were with him. One night, Luo Tong falls asleep, resting his head on a desk, and has a dream of Du Laonu entering his room and embracing him warmly. At dawn, Luo Tong’s dream becomes true. He finds Du Laonu next to him under a blanket. This happened because Du Laonu’s master, Wangzan Laozu, had a ringing in his ears and performed a divination, revealing that his disciple has died. Then Du Laonu’s soul came to her master and told him how she was killed. The master called his young disciple, Tong Tianzu, and ordered him to go to Luo Tong’s bedroom and put Du Laonu’s soul into Xi Niang’s body. As the story explains, Du Laonu was born with two bodies and one soul. The talented Du Laonu was born in Northern Liao and lived in her master’s cave until the age of eighteen, while the other one was born without the soul in the Xi’s family in Chang’an.

Finally, a great feast takes place in the throne hall, during which Emperor Li Shimin confers high ranks on the generals Cheng Yaojin and Qin Qiong. Li Shimin also recognises Luo Tong’s achievements and declares him his adopted son once more, also reinstating him as the commander of the army. It is with all these happy events that the bard Nimaodzer brings the tale to an end.