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Unformatted text preview: Wang Kuei and Li Hsiang-hsiang By Li Chi Translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang Originally published by Foreign Languages Press (Beijing, 1964) Reprinted online by the MCLC Resource Center, 2003. Part Two / Part Three PART ONE Landlord Tsui Collects Rent We start in 1930, when A sad thing happened in Sanpien. [1] Sanpien's three treasures all men knew, With many poor, its rich were few. On every side stretched yellow sand, But all of it was rich men's land. In '29 there'd been a drought When all the farms were quite scorched out; As blind men grope their way with fear Poor peasants dread a barren year. In tail not head, lies famine's sting, So all men feared the coming spring; Weeds gone, they searched for leaves and roots, No sign was there of young green shoots; When plants were gone, tree bark they found, To make coarse flour the bark was ground. Though March's dead in coffins lay, Unburied were the dead in May; When want had made so many die, The landlord's grain was piled up high. Like homeless dogs the starving poor, But Landlord Tsui cared not a straw. A gale makes big trees chant a song; His money soon made Tsui pao chang. [2] Abacus beads are ninety-one, To count Tsui's herds you'd never done; In ten miles' pasture, seven miles' sand, Each head of cattle bore his brand. A chimney's smoke curls way up high, So Tsui owned even half the sky; One whisper to the magistrate, The weather, too, he could dictate. The colder it gets the fiercer it blows, The richer a man the harder he grows. That year no crops were harvested, The peasants' hearts were filled with dread; Because no grain starvation meant, And how could Tsui be paid his rent? For though a man can tighten his belt, Arrears in rent disaster spelt. Though Wang had starved for many a day, The landlord's bailiff bade him pay. His tongue wagged quickly in his head, As Wang said all that could be said: "Although I can't repay him now, In my next life I'll be his cow." "You owe us rent," came the reply, "You can't escape, tho' you may die!" To end each word there came a crack, His switches slashed the old man's back; The bailiff seemed a man possessed, Old Pock-marked Wang was sorely pressed. Blood poured from all his wounds like rain, He called out "Mother!" in his pain. A lonely swan on the sand will fall: His neighbours grieved for him one and all. "You've furs in winter, you're well fed; Though Wang owes rent, why beat him dead? Though you cart all he owns away Or kill the man, he still can't pay!" A blind ass tramples its own stall; That bailiff had no heart at all. When one switch broke, the next he'd take; To see the blood your heart would break. At sunset Wang was not quite gone, But on a dead corpse the moon shone. In pulling grass Tsui took the root, That landlord was a savage brute; The father dead he seized the son, Of all the family left not one. No plants will grow in the winter cold, And men ranked lower than beasts of old. Wang Kuei Works for Tsui Old Pock-marked Wang's son, young Wang Kuei, Was but a lad when seized by Tsui. The landlord's plan was really clever: Wang Kuei should work for him for ever. No friend to him would the landlord be, He'd get the youngster's labour free. A lamb bleats soon as it is born: Wang Kuei was sharp as any thorn. A beast may toil; at least it's fed; Wang Kuei went hungry to his bed. When New Year dainties filled the pan, The lad still munched his hunk of bran. His clothes were thin and worn and old, No comfort when the winds blew cold, In autumn crops he harvested, Sworn at as slow, though both hands bled; In winter when he herded goats, He had no furs or padded coats. Blood poured from his chapped hands and feet, Frozen his food too hard to eat; And in the snow all wood was damp: He could not light a fire to camp. When asters flowered one autumn day, Wang Kuei had worked four years for Tsui. Wheat grows well after winter's snow; And like young wheat he seemed to grow. That winter, in the snow and frost, He missed the father he had lost; A dead ox's place by a younger is filled, A son must avenge a father killed. Li Hsiang-hsiang Skylark eggs the skylarks lay: Tsui's home was in Dead Goat Bay. In flood, foul water flows with clear; Rich families and poor lived here. Beside a stream in Dead Goat Bay There lived a poor man, Li Te-jui. At fifty-eight his beard was white, And in his home his one delight Was Hsiang-hsiang, comfort of his life, For sons he'd none, and dead his wife. Like some small bird in winter's sleet, No clothes to wear, no food to eat, Though hard she laboured at sixteen, Hungry and tired she'd always been. In rough cloth sugar may be rolled: Poor girls may have a heart of gold. Round wholesome grains on maize you find, Though Li was old, his heart was kind. He took Wang's hand and said with tears: "A bitter life you've known these years! Of grief, my boy, you've had your share, An orphan without parents' care; But beggars sleep in temple doors, Why don't you take our home as yours?" To chop them wood Wang Kuei would come. With such a sister and a dad, A home this homeless youngster had. Gathering Wild Herbs Sweet the red lilies in the glade: Hsiang-hsiang became a lovely maid. And sparkling were her great black eyes Like dew that bright on meadows lies. Rice must be husked two times or three; A child, she loved the peasantry. Hillside willows grow green and gay: And straight and tall grew young Wang Kuei. Six feet he stood, so sturdy too, Two peasants' labour he could do. Maize flowers when it is but half grown, He wanted Hsiang-hsiang for his own. Hard to start singing though the song is sweet, Hard to grow cherries though they're good to eat. Their hearts were given each to each, But both were shy and slow of speech. As he drove goats up mountains high, She looked for herbs in glens near by. As Wang Kuei, singing, trudged along, This was the burden of his song: "Tired out, I toss the whole night through, Can't sleep a wink for love of you." He pauses now to listen, mute; Below, a voice sounds like a lute: "Wild lilies bloom on valley's brink: Be bold to tell me what you think." "Magic herbs by the roadside grow: But none's your equal, that I know." "Choosing a horse, one is better than another; Choosing a man, none's as good as Elder Brother." "You've teeth like rice, lips cherry red; Don't start trying to turn my head! Why take a poor young man like me?" "Light from the stove the bed shines o'er; I shall never think you poor. I've loved peasants since I could see, Better than silver is honesty." "A green-skinned melon has seeds of red. I shall remember all you've said. Tangled as flax is all I'd say; But we must meet again today." "When the world is sleeping, then In my room we'll speak again. But there will be no moon or light, So don't trip over the dog tonight." Two Silver Dollars The evening sun was sinking bright and red, When quickly to the well our Hsiang-hsiang sped. The rope scarce reached the depths below, And stooping down her cheeks were all aglow. But here, in short black coat and silken shoes, Comes Landlord Tsui, and close the girl pursues. Like some old greasy bladder is his head, With foxy eyes as narrow as a thread, He bares his yellow teeth as if to smile, And paws at Hsiang-hsiang, grinning all the while. "Oh, let me help! This is too much for you; To spoil those pretty hands will never do!" "Now mind what you are doing, Landlord Tsui, And take your dirty, clumsy hands away!" "Proud little baggage, you had best go slow; I swore an oath to have you long ago. Rich mutton soup to eat with best white rice: I always get whatever I think nice. How rich you'll be, dear, wed to Mr. Tsui; Food, clothes and jewels--anything you say." Blushing and angry was the poor girl then, As with her pail she started home again. But Landlord Tsui, who followed fast behind, Groped in his wallet dollars for to find. "Two silver dollars I will give to you, To make yourself a pretty dress or two." The girl had always been a little wild, Hated the rich since she was quite a child, Because half starved her household often went, While Landlord Tsui took all their grain in rent; And for the way he treated young Wang Kuei, Making the poor boy work both night and day. Her two cheeks flushed a pomegranate red. "You keep your filthy money, Tsui," she said. "Confound it, girl! Be careful what you say. You can't afford to cross rich Landlord Tsui." Then like a beaten dog away he went, Though in his rage on vengeance he was bent. "Once let the rope break, down will fall the pail; I'll get you in my hands; I cannot fail. To eat coarse food, you throw white flour away; You don't want me, but will you have Wang Kuei? Wang Kuei is young, maybe, but he is poor; I may be old, but money I've a store. Flour for the bin must first go through a sieve, Only with my consent can Wang Kuei live. A smoking chimney makes the rafters black, He'll pay for this as soon as I get back!" ****************************************** 1. The name of a cluster of three towns---Anpien, Tingpien and Chingpien---near the Great Wall in North Shensi. 2. Head of a hundred families, the basic unit under the reactionary Kuomintang government. PART TWO The Revolution No trees and few stones had Sanpien, The peasants' lot was bitter then. No clouds above, below a drought, They had to think of some way out. With scarlet banner at their head, Through North Shensi the army spread. With Liu Chih-tan to lead them, high [1] They raised the Red flag to the sky. From sparks in hay big fires can spread, The Red flag made all poor men Red. The lightning's seen for miles around, And communism soon gained ground. Gladly the plough a roan ox draws, All folk support a people's cause. Plain peasants by the broad daylight Become armed soldiery at night. Open the forts, divide the lands, Cattle and grain to the people's hands! Youth Corps and Red Guards grow apace, There lads of eighteen find a place; And girls run out as swift as wind Their long hair cut in bobs behind. A stream in spate will burst its banks: By stealth Wang joined the Red Guards' ranks. He grazed his herds when day was bright, And off to meetings went at night. There he remained until cocks crowed, Then sped back down the homeward road. During the day his goats he'd keep: During the night no wink of sleep. Tired as he was, his spirits high, For revolution glad to die! Five fingers are of different length, His hate surpassed the rest in strength; Though others' hate was mountain high, That of Wang Kuei otertopped the sky. Tsui flogged his father till he died, I 981 And now he wished to steal Wang's bride. Five years young Wang had toiled away, Without a cent from Landlord Tsui. Nothing too vile for Tsui to do, He built forts, hired soldiers too. Landlords were vicious, every one, But Tsui had all the rest outdone! Folks longed to tear him limb from limb; The very dogs would bark at him. "Oh, may the Reds come soon!" they'd pray. "Make haste to capture Dead Goat Bay!" Though beans are raw, starved folk can't wait; Can the Sun Rise in the Western Sky? A fox-hunt frightens hares away, Red revolution frightened Tsui. No sleep for him; he tried too late To hold back all the river's spate. He sought by spies, by guile, by twists, To find who backed the Communists. The news that Wang was underground Made his black heart with anger pound. They laid in wait for Wang that night; With two thick ropes they bound him tight. The landlord had him trussed and slung, Then from the rafter he was hung. The villagers were summoned straight, To see "a dirty rebel's" fate. Two canes they broke upon Wang Kuei, Revived him when he swooned away. When oil is burnt, bright light is made; His clothes were from his body flayed. They trussed him up from throat to thigh, And left his body dangling high. Blood flowed from every cruel gash, Flailed like an ox beneath the lash. With fury Tsui seemed like to choke He swore at Wang between each stroke: "You frogs that want to feed on cranes Won't gain your ends for all your pains. Look at your face in a puddle, do! What can be done by curs like you? Can the snow fall in mid-July? The sun rise in the western sky?" "No need, old dog, to strut about; The wind will blow your lantern out. Death matters nothing in my case, For millions more will take my place." "Be reasonable, Wang! Don't bawl! Are we not kinsfolk after all? What wrong to you, pray, have I done? I brought you up as my own son. You smash the bridge, the river crossed; Your feathers grown, your thanks are lost. A horse may be a dragon yet; Are you so stupid to forget? A prodigal's worth more than gold, And butchers can be gods, we're told. Wipe the slate clean--that's my desire; Young fellows always play with fire." "No good, old turtle, turning sweet; This customer is hard to cheat. In all the world's no greater knave; You killed my dad, made me a slave. The whole year round I sweat away, But in five years I've had no pay. Even beasts munch hay at dead of night, You woke me, shivering, out of spite. No clothes, no bedding in the cold, In five years just two sheepskins old. You ate and swilled throughout the year; Husks were the most I had as cheer. A friendly word you'd never say, But whipped me every other day; Parents you had to care for you, D'you think I had no mother too? We both are human, you and me, But you show no humanity. I may be poor, but I'm not blind; It's easy to make up my mind. If we succeed, I shall be strong; Without a fight, I shan't live long. The meanest, tortured beast must strive, And I'll fight on while I'm alive. What's stopping you from killing me? I know the devil you can be. I'll never bow to you again! Your bribes are just a waste of breath; To me your yoke is worse than death!" Tsui's loss of face was so complete, Like some mad dog he jumped three feet. "You dirty bastard, so perverse! Kind words can only make you curse!" Once more whips showered blows like rain, And Wang Kuei clenched his teeth with pain. A gust of wind, a gust of sand, No more of this could Hsiang-hsiang stand; She trembled, weak in every limb, Stunned by the blows that fell on him. Her face turned white and then turned red, Tears dimmed her eyes she dared not shed; Her head was swimming, numb she'd grown, Like a live creature turned to stone. To save Wang Kuei she found a plan, Out of the gate by stealth she ran, Thinking as she sped away: "Wang may not last another day. He went to meetings at Liu Fair, There'll surely be guerrillas there. They must be quickly told the news, Unless they come, my love I'll lose!" The Red Flag Is Planted in Dead Goat Bay Loud on his whistle the sergeant blew, To fetch guns, horses, each man flew. When news came in of Wang Kuei's plight, The word went round at dead of night: "A loyal comrade is Wang Kuei, His life must not be thrown away." The Red Guards and the Youth Corps sped With twenty horsemen at their head, Their rifles on their shoulders slung, Cloppety-clop! the horse hooves rung. With steeds so swift, men so stout-hearted, Before the dawn the fight had started. A single root have turnips white: Peasants and partisans unite; When shots are heard then out they run, With hatchet, stick or rusty gun. Together now they pound away; Red flags have come to Dead Goat Bay! Shots sounded, dogs barked, roosters crowed, As in our brave guerrillas rode. The landlord, sound asleep in bed, On hearing shots leapt up in dread; His anger spent upon Wang Kuei, An opium pipe had made him gay. But this was not enough, alas! Nor his bronze lamp with shade of glass, Of all his women gathered there, Not one with Hsiang-hsiang could compare. Some throw fat mutton to a cur, Yet Tsui had failed to capture her. "Wang Kuei will soon be dead," said he. "And then the girl will come to me." So sugar-sweet this dream appeared, He dribbled down his ugly beard. And dreamt, the lamp beside him placed, Of Hsiang-hsiang in his arms embraced. But not for long did this dream last, Bang! Bang! the gun shots rang out fast. Awoken by the first loud bang, At the next one up he sprang. And called his henchmen in a flurry: "Lock up, and climb the roof! Now hurry! Each man you spot, just shoot him dead! I'll pay ten silver yuan a head!" But more men came, shot followed shot The landlord found the place too hot. Before the sun rose bright that day Through the back gate he slipped away. And, by the time of noonday heat, Red flags waved in the village street Like a great blossom blazed the sun, Guerrillas, peasants cheered as one. "Here's thick rice porridge, bubbling hot." They fed the Red Guards on the spot; And Wang Kuei's ropes were soon untied But at the sight of him they cried The pain had made him faint away, Loud Hsiang-hsiang wept and called Wang Kuei. "If you die, I die too," she cries. "Look at me, dearest! Open your eyes !" Free Marriage The earth is red beneath the sun's warm gaze, And revolution has brought better days. Under old Landlord Tsui all things were black; Nine out of ten had no clothes to their back. The poor rose up to drive out Landlord Tsui, And Dead Goat Bay became their Live Goat Bay. When lamps lack oil, they can but feebly glow; When men lack land, the spark of life burns low. The land once theirs, light shines in every place, And smiles of pleasure beam on every face; Then bitter gentian turns to sugar sweet. Wang Kuei and Hsiang-hsiang wed, their joy complete. Women and men are equal now and free, Freedom of choice in marriage now we see. Like the poor pilgrim in the days of old, The two had suffered miseries untold, But through a thousand woes did not despair; Heaven it is to see a well-matched pair! A bird will sing as to its nest it flies, Now tears of happiness dim Hsiang-hsiang's eyes. As from the fountain head the water flows, Salt tears are falling on Wang Kuei's new clothes. "I tossed and turned all night, time seemed so slow," Said Wang. "I thought the cock would never crow!" And Hsiang-hsiang's tempted both to laugh and cry; She cannot say a word, she feels too shy. Then Wang Kuei, bashful too, becomes tongue-tied, Thinking of Hsiang-hsiang as his own dear bride. Speechless they stand, her hands in his held fast, Until his thoughts find vent in words at last: "By revolution are the rich o'erthrown, By revolution you become my own. 'Twas revolution that saved you and me, 'Twas revolution made us peasants free. The Red flag gleams: we'll guard it, every one. If it should fall, then future have we none. Quickly let horses speed and oxen plough; To spread the tidings is our duty now. The earth is slippery after heavy rain; But if we stumble, we can rise again. Now smiles the sun so red and gay on high; I'm with the revolution till I die!" Three happy days they spent as wife and man, Then Wang enlisted as a partisan; For coolness wrapped a towel around his head, Shouldered his rifle, and away he sped. Each week or fortnight, when of duty free, He'd ask for leave, his young wife for to see. She would not leave him till they'd reached the glen, Mud rich and brown deep in the valley lay. "Come, let us make two figures out of clay. Make one of you and also one of me, Make them as true to life as they can be. Then break and mix the clay to make anew Two figures, one of me and one of you. Then there will be some trace of you in me, And something of me, too, in you there'll be." When that was finished, Wang Kuei had to go "Come back, my dearest, in a day or so." 1. *Liu Chih-tan, organizer and leader of the Communist Party and the Red Army in North Shensi during the Second Revolutionary Civil War (1927-1936). In 1936, he fell in battle while resisting the Kuumintang forces who were attempting to prevent the Red Army from fighting the Japanese aggressors PART THREE Landlord Tsui's Return Fine weather may to foul give place: A scout arrived with anxious face. "Whites!"--panting hard he could not stay-- "The cruel Whites are on their way!" They hurried to cut off the Whites; Each able-bodied peasant fights. "No time for fond farewells, Wang Kuei, The signal's gone! To arms! Away!" When word reached Dead Goat Bay, 'twas night; The Whites arrived with morning light. Each soldier's face was black and grim, As if back pay was owed to him. They searched the place from door to door, And asked: "Who's joined the rebel corps? And who was given cows and sheep? And who got property to keep?" One had a cave, so they discovered; In no time was the place uncovered. The landlord's gate was tall and wide, With two hemp ropes the man was tied. With switch of nettle and of thorn, His naked back was whipped and torn. That White commander, hateful beast, He clenched his fists, his lips he creased: "No water's drawn when wells are dry; Nor can the poor be rich--why try? It's fated that you should be poor; Yet still some change you struggle for. The Reds are but a broken reed, A pretty crew to trust, indeed!" Then ropes to bind, and knives to hack, His ill-won gains Tsui soon got back. After the jackals led the way, The wolf came back to Dead Goat Bay. Long gown, short jacket, walking-stick The sight of him would make you sick. From one house to the next he'd go: "It's vain to envy me, you know. The men of old revolted too, It's quite a commonplace ado. It's like the Heav'nly Dog on high, Who eats the moon up in the sky.[1] But soon the moon appears once more, And shines as brightly as before. Fair fortune makes the rich her friends, As soon an upstart's triumph ends. Who is your rightful ruler, pray? Tsui rules the roast in Dead Goat Bay!" A swine turns always to its swill; For Hsiang-hsiang Tsui was lusting still. Her dad was for a soldier sent, Then to her home the landlord went. With yellow teeth bared in a leer: "Well, girl," he said. "Just look who's here! You can't hold out against me now; Old scores shall be wiped out, I vow. Poor widow, how I pity you! .', Your husband has skedaddled too; So don't be stubborn; come with me; Good food, good clothes--how gay you'll be!" Then Hsiang-hsiang, angry, in dismay, Just bit her lip. What could she say? And thinking silence meant consent, He grabbed at her with vile intent. He meant this time to have his way, When none was there to say him nay; And, seizing her with all his might, He tried to ravish her outright. Trembling with rage she turned to fly, Rushed to the door and gave a cry; But with a grin he barred the way. "Women are fools," said Landlord Tsui. Once more he started to give chase, But Hsiang-hsiang spat right in his face; She kicked at him and clawed his head, She scratched his face till both cheeks bled. The neighbours, at the turmoil, came; The landlord had to leave for shame. But at the door the villain paused: "Just see what trouble you have caused. I tell you plain, mark what I say, Like it or not, you'll yet give way!" The Handkerchief The heart of Landlord Tsui was deepest black, And Hsiang-hsiang's father never more came back. The old bird dead, her mate, the young bird, flown, How could the poor girl manage on her own? To join the partisans was her one thought, But by the cunning landlord she was caught. First rice he'd send, then flour to her would cart, Tsui thought in this way he could win her heart. This one and that were sent to her by Tsui, They came to seek her several times a day, The fierce to threaten, others to persuade, But true still to her husband Hsiang-hsiang stayed. Each day she cried: her cheeks were wet so often That even hearts of stone would have to soften. A newly-wedded bride ought not to cry; But Hsiang-hsiang's handkerchief was never dry. Her handkerchief, full eighteen inches wide, Was soaked with tears again as soon as dried. Outside her window there was rising ground, And just beyond the fort the sandhills wound; But though some hills were high, some hills were low, To find her lover Hsiang-hsiang could not go. A sturdy elm tree grew the house near by, Although its roots were thick, it was not high; And every morning she would ask the tree: "Oh, tell me, elm, where can my husband be?" While watching the wild geese that southward fly, She heard an echo to her mournful cry. "Wild geese, folk say, will oft a message take. Please take my lover one, for pity's sake! Say: Trees were sprouting when you went away, Though leaves have fallen, still from home you stay. If any horse won't pull, the whip is heard: And if you can't come home, just send a word! Two mighty piles of bricks with stones between: Ah, no one knows the troubles I have seen. As clouds by gusts of wind are quickly scattered, Our married life was by another shattered. What seed that grows is rounder than a pea? What other couple is as sad as we? Smoother is wheat than any other grain: What other couple knows our grief and pain? Now, sick with longing, from my food I turn; The fire within my heart makes both lips burn. Rice grows in shady places, wheat in sun, And as I think of you, my eyes o'errun. I take my rice bowl, yearning still for you; Down fall my salt tears in the rice bowl too. Too lonely in the dusk my lamp to light, I long for you till late into the night; Nor can I close my eyes the whole night through, But on my bed a portrait trace of you. I call on you to save me every day; My days are numbered, love, if you delay. But should I die, one thing I swear to you: Short stirrups and long reins for horses high: My spirit will be with you if I die." Now Aunty Liu was a kind-hearted dame, To put fresh heart into the bride she came. With words of comfort oftentimes came she: "Now cheer up, dearie, and pay heed to me! Our partisans will all come back one day, And then we'll settle every score with Tsui. We'll catch the beast alive, his arms we'll tie; And all White traitors will be killed or fly." One grain of buckwheat has got ridges three: Poor Hsiang-hsiang was as wretched as could be. A spell of drought brings death to every farm: And Hsiang-hsiang, thin and sallow, lost her charm. But ill and wasting, shoes of cloth she made, Gave them with tears to Aunty Liu, and prayed: "Please keep these slippers, Aunty, in my stead; And give them to Wang Kuei when I am dead. Oh, tell my husband when he takes this pair, They are the last shoes made by me he'll wear." The Lovers Reunited Quite mad with rage was Landlord Tsui: "Confound the wench! She must obey!" No wolf or tiger fierce as he, Poor Hsiang-hsiang, trapped, could not get free. A rich feast in his hall was spread, Before New Year they were to wed. All was got ready at top speed, Only officers came to the feed. Each private drew some extra pay, And drank and gambled it away. But Hsiang-hsiang felt her heart would break, Her tears poured down for Wang Kuei's sake. Trousers of green, silk coat of red, They made her wear, as if to wed. She wept and cried, she cursed the day: "You'd marry your mother, you devil Tsui! Some day, I swear, I'll find a knife, And then, you dog, I'll have your life!" But Tsui, quite deaf to all she said, Was puffing opium on his bed. Replete, to join his guests he went; Like well-fed dogs, they were content. I drink to you, you drink to me, They swilled in hoggish jollity. The guests expressed congratulations, As if they were Tsui's close relations. Then in a smile his face was creased: "Forgive what's lacking in this feast. To you my warmest thanks are due: I should have failed if not for you. I ought to call my concubine, And order her to pour you wine; But like a fool she sobs away; She'll drink with you another day. Some tastes there's no accounting for, She scorns the rich and likes the poor. However hard young Wang Kuei tries, Arms can't compare with thighs in size! This match was fixed by Heaven's decree; How could she get away from me? Ewe lambs are for the rich man's fold, There's nothing for the poor to hold. The truth is, when all's said and done, From east--not west--must rise the sun!" Guzzling away they left no guard; Guerrillas came into the yard. With shouts of "Kill!" and rifle crack, Our partisans were fighting back, Each man with trusty horse and gun, A finer unit was there none. Then armed with rifle, spear or sword, Shot-gun or musket, in they poured. Not one White soldier cared to fight, Like lambs they all gave in outright. Torches were lit, their radiance gleamed; In the rejoicing neighbours streamed. The drunken feasters were appalled, Under the bed the landlord crawled. The captain fled, the sergeants, caught And roped, into the yard were brought. The landlord's pudgy face dripped sweat; Now they would make him pay his debt! The captain tried to scale the wall, But he was captured after all. And Hsiang-hsiang laughed to hear guns crack: "Our partisans are back! They're back!" Great happiness gives strength, it's said, She jumped up quickly off the bed, Flashed through the door, so eager she. "My lover--where, oh, where is he?" With leave to take his bride away, Into the courtyard came Wang Kuei. All round was bright with torches' glare, But he could not see Hsiang-hsiang there. Only far off a bride was seen, In jacket red and trousers green. Head a horse home, he knows the way; And Hsiang-hsiang recognized Wang Kuei. "That same towel round his head!" cried she. "That is my husband--none but he!" Now the two meet, and hand clasps hand; Enraptured, speechless, they both stand. Their hearts are full, but they are dumb; They long to speak, but no words come. But at long last hear Wang Kuei say: "To revolution, love, we owe this day. . . ." 1. According to Chinese mythology, the eclipse of the moon is caused by the "Heavenly Dog," which takes the moon for a meat ball. Return to Beginning ...
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