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金庸名著《越女剑》

来源:英语阅读 编辑:英语学习 时间:2017-11-06

SWORD OF THE YUEH MAIDEN

This is the only short story wrote by Jin Yong. Because of its short length, you can't really see Jin Yong's full talent at story-telling. However, this translation can give you some idea of what a martial arts story is like. My clumsy translation can't really do the original justice, but I hope I have stirred your interest enough that you will go out there and find out more about Chinese culture, history and legend. The process of finding out will not be easy, but I assure you, what you will find will never be dull.

Background:

This story is based on real historical events that occurred during the th century B.C. It 's a period between what's known as the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring Kingdoms period. China was yet to be united under the First Emperor. The so-called Han race didn't exist yet. China was divided into big and small kingdoms, dukedoms and counties which warred with each other constantly.

It all started when the king of Chuh slept with his son's fiancee. Bad move, for any era. The king now feared that his son will turn against him. The fear was fanned into action by the allegations of an ambitious minister who wanted to destroy the crown prince's faction. The resulting purge destroyed many clans and families. One of the family, almost peripheral to the whole thing, was the House of Wu. The youngest son, Wu Tzu-Shi, escaped and vowed bloody vengeance.

After a long and dangerous journey through several kingdoms unwilling to help, he arrived at the newly founded kingdom of Wu (No, the Chinese characters for the Wu in Wu Tzu-Shi is actually different from the character Wu in the Wu kingdom). He helped Prince Ho Lu to assassinate his cousin the king in a convoluted power struggle. Then he built up the kingdom of Wu from a barely civilized kingdom to a modern kingdom with the best trained army in the known world. Sun Tzu, who wrote the immortal Art of War, served in Wu at this time.

When Wu Tzu-Shi was ready, he managed to convince King Ho Lu to invade Chuh. At the time Chuh was a superpower and Wu was an upstart kingdom, but the upstart kingdom managed to destroy Chuh's army utterly. Unfortunately, Wu Tzu-shi's vengeance was hollow. The object of his vengeance had already died several years ago. In his rage, Wu Tzu-Shi exhumed the body of the dead king and flogged it until it fell to pieces.

The kingdom of Wu proved itself incapable of absorbing the far larger kingdom of Chuh, so Wu Tzu-Shi had to take his army back to Wu. Then, Ho Lu began a series of wars to establish hegemony over the rest of China. It's in one of those wars when he ran into the kingdom of Yueh. The Yueh people was then even more primitive then Wu was a few decades ago, but they were great fighters. They were ruled by King Kou Chiang. In a pitch battle, King Ho Lu was struck by a poison arrow and died.

Ho Lu's son Fu Chai became king. He was intent on avenging his father. A personal guard was ordered to remind him of this fact periodically by saying "Fu Chai, did you forget to avenge the death of your father?" Fu Chai then rallied his army and destroyed the army of Yueh. King Kou Chiang became a prisoner of Fu Chai for several years. However, Fu Chai was not a brutal man. Instead of annexing the kingdom of Yueh and turning Kou Chiang into a slave, he released Kou Chiang after extracting an oath of fealty from the king of Yueh. Unfortunately, that gesture of mercy was completely lost on King Kou Chiang. Kou Chiang, like Wu Tzu-Shi and Fu Chai before him, was possessed by the burning desire to avenge the wrongs done him.

Kou Chiang hired two wise men from the kingdom of Chuh. One of them was Feng Li, the other was Wen Chung. The two began to build up the barbaric kingdom of Yueh so one day their king could challenge the power of Wu. Many legends are associated with this period of history. One of the legends was the legend of the Yueh Maiden.

Story:

"After you."

"After you."

The two swordmen turned the point of their blades downward. Their right palm holding the sword hilt, their left palm covered their right palm, then they bowed deeply to each other in a warrior's salute.

Even before the two straightened, a sudden flash of white, then the sound of clanging. The two swordmen each retreated one step. The audience gave out a soft cry

. The swordman in blue cut three times. The liveried swordman blocked each cut. The swordman in blue shouted and slashed his sword from the upper left corner straight downward. The slash was powerful and fast. The liveried swordman was too agile to be caught. A simple jump got him out of the way. His body bounced barely after his left feet touched the ground. He returned two slashes. The swordman in blue stood still with a grim smile. He moved his sword lightly and blocked the attack.

The liveried swordman suddenly began running around the swordman in blue. He ran faster and faster. The swordman in blue merely stared at the point of his enemy's sword. He was ready to strike anytime that point moved to attack. The liveried swordman at first ran one way, then the other. The swordman in blue started to feel a bit dizzy and said "Are you fighting, or running for your life?" The liveried swordman continued running. The swordman in blue attempted to cut him down a few times, but his sword always fell short.

The swordman in blue pulled his sword back to the side of his body and bowed his right leg slightly. The liveried swordman thought he saw an opening and lounged at his left shoulder, the swordman in blue was merely luring his enemy. His sword circled into a direct thrust at the liveried swordman's throat. The thrust was too fast to be avoided. The liveried swordman was surprised. He threw his sword toward the heart of his enemy. The liveried swordman hoped to force the swordman to abort the thrust in order to save his own life.

Unexpectedly, the swordman in blue didn't attempt to defend himself. With a move of his arm, the point of his sword entered the liveried swordman's throat. Then the liveried swordman's thrown sword hit his chest with a loud clang and fell to the ground. The swordman in blue laughed coldly and pulled his sword back. He was wearing a round plate of iron in front of his chest, just under the garment. That's why the sword did him no harm. The liveried swordman's throat spurted blood and his body convulsed. The servants stepped in to remove the body and began to wipe up the blood on the ground.

The swordman in blue sheathed his sword. He stepped forward and bowed toward the north of the hall where the king sat. The king wore a purple robe. He is of strange appearance. His neck was excessive long and his mouth was sharp as a bird's beak. He smiled and said in a croaking voice "The strong one has wonderful sword skill. Award him ten pounds of gold." The swordman in blue knelt down on his right knee and bowed "Thank you for the award." The king waved his left hand. An official on his right shouted "Swordmen of Wu and swordmen of Yueh,second contest!"

From the east end of the hall, another liveried swordman walked out from his group. This man was tall of stature and held a great sword. The sword was nearly four feet in length. The blade was extremely thick and was obviously quite heavy. From the west of hall, another swordman in blue walked out. He was of medium height. His face was crisscrossed by at least twelve or thirteen sword scars. The face seemed no longer human. He must have fought hundreds of battles with countless swordmen. The two knelt to the king, then they saluted each other.

The swordman in blue straightened his body and smiled. His face made the smile seemed ugly and cruel. The tall swordman shivered. Then he sighed deeply and held his sword with both hands.

Suddenly the swordman in blue howled madly like a wolf and thrusted his sword. The tall swordman cried, lifted his great sword and cut down toward his opponent's head. The swordman in blue dodged while his sword made a slash from left to right. The tall swordman lifted the great sword and whirled, making the sounds of a great wind. The great weight of the sword didn't slow him down in the slightest.

The two made thirty passes at each other. The swordman in blue couldn't oppose the weight of his opponent's sword. He kept retreating. All the other liveried swordman began to show hope on their faces as they anticipated their side to win at last.

Then the tall swordman made a great cry like the sound of a thunderclap and made a horizontal cut with his great sword. The swordman in blue couldn't avoid it. He could only block it with his own sword with all his strength. Clang! The two swords met. The great sword broke and half of the blade flew away. The swordman in blue wielded a far sharper sword. Then the swordman in blue made a vertical cut which opened up the tall swordman from throat to crotch. The tall swordman howled and kept on howling as he felt to the ground. The swordman in blue looked at his fallen opponent for a while before returning his sword to the sheath. Then he knelt toward the king. His face couldn't disguise his joy of victory.

The official said "The strong one's sword skill is impressive. The award is ten pounds of gold." The swordman in blue bowed in thanks. There were only eight swordmen in blue. Compared with fifty liveried swordmen standing at the east side of the hall, they were badly outnumbered.

The official said "Swordmen of Wu and swordmen of Yueh, the third contest."

Again, one swordman from each walked to the center of the hall. The sword of the swordman in blue trembled and shone like bright silk. The official said "Good sword!" The swordman in blue thanked his praise. The official then said "We have seen one-to-one contests twice. This time, two against two!"

Two more swordmen entered the arena. The four again saluted the king first before saluting each other. Then the swords flashed as the combat began. This time, each of the two swordmen on the same side must reinforce each other. After a few passes, a liveried swordmen's sword was cut into half by his enemy's sword. This liveried swordman was very courageous. He carried his broken and jumped toward his enemy. His opponent's sword flashed and cut away his right arm together with his right shoulder. Then the sword impaled his heart.

The other pair was still fighting. The victorious swordman in blue watched for a while, then his sword moved. Again, the liveried swordman's sword was cut into half, leaving him wide open. His oponent's sword entered his chest and exited from his back

. The king laughed and clapped "Excellent swords! Excellent sword skills. Award them wine and gold. Let us see one contest of four against four!"

Four swordmen from each side began combat. The swordmen from the east side had already lost three contests. These four fought desperately with all their skills. Even if they lost their lives, they meant to win at least one contest. Two swordmen in blue concentrated on one liveried swordman. The other two swordmen in blue defended them against the other three liveried swordmen. These swordmen in blue only defended. Their skill of defense was impenetrable. They also made no attempt to attack, all they did was preventing the three from aiding their comrade. The other two swordman in blue easily killed their lone opponent. Then they repeated their tactic again and killed another liveried swordman.

The other liveried swordmen saw the death of their comrades. They drew their swords and was ready to aid their comrades and chopped the swordmen in blue to bits.

The official cried out in a clear voice "Those who learned the way of the sword, must obey the laws of the swor !"

His voice was authoritative. The liveried swordmen quieted down. By now everyone could see that the swordmen in blue used completely different sword skills. The two who defended were specialized in defense. The two who attacked specialized in attack. The attackers always outnumber their victim because the defenders watched their back. They could win even if their opponents numbered six or even eight. The swords of the two defenders formed a sword net which could handle five or even six swordmen easily.

The two defenders had cornered a liveried swordman so he was virtually neutralized while the two attackers already killed the third liveried swordman. The two defenders moved left and right and watched for more enemies while the two attackers began on the lone swordman. Even though the liveried swordman had no hope of winning, still he didn't throw down his sword to admit defeat. Suddenly the four swordmen in blue shouted loudly and their four swords impaled the liveried swordman from four directions.

The liveried swordman died immediately, but his eyes were opened like round saucers. His mouth opened widely. The four swordmen in blue pulled out their swords at the same time. The four wiped their swords at the sole of their shoes, then they returned their swords back into the sheath. The movements were completely synchronized.

The king laughed and clapped his hands together again "Excellent sword skill! The swordmen of the great kingdom were truly invincible. It's only today that we're treated to such a spectacle. Award each swordman ten pounds of gold." The four bowed in thanks. They bowed at the same exact angle. No one knew how long they practiced to achieve such precision.

A swordman in boue turned, picked a long box covered in gold paint and said "Our king thank the generous gifts of Your Majesty. His Majesty ordered us to return the favor with one precious sword. This sword is newly forged in our kingdom for the enjoyment of Your Majesty."

The king smiled "Thank you. Minister Feng, bring it over here."

The king was Kou Chiang, King of Yueh. The official was Feng Li, the royal advisor. The liveried swordmen were the Royal Guards of Yueh. The eight swordmen in blue were the messengers sent by Fu Chai, King of Wu. Kou Chiang was defeated by Fu Chai and he waited for a chance for vengeance. While he was submissive to the Kingdom of Wu on the surface, he secretly trained soldiers in preparation for an attack on Wu. In order to test the skill of Wu warriors, he sent out the best of his swordmen. He could not expect that the Wu swordmen easily killed eight of his finest swordmen. He was surprised and angry, but he showed none of it. Instead, he praised the sword skills of the Wu swordmen and showed his heartfelt admiration.

Feng Li took the golden long box. The box felt very light, as thought it's empty. He opened up the cover. Before the other people in the hall could see what's in the box, Feng Li's face was illuminated by a faint blue light. Everyone cried in surprise.

Feng Li took the box to Kou Chiang and bowed "Please look, Your Majesty." Kou Chiang saw that the box was lined with red silk. The sword inside it had a very thin blade. The light it reflected flowed on its surface like water. He said "Excellent sword!" He took the hilt and lifted up the sword. The blade trembled slightly, almost as though he could break the blade with a flick of his wrist. He thought "The sword blade is too thin. It might look good, but it has no practical use."

The leader of the swordmen in blue took out a piece of gauze from his pocket and threw it into the air. "Please, Your Majesty, point the edge of the sword upward so it will meet this falling gauze. You will see that this sword is different." The thin gauze fell upon the edge of the sword, but the gauze didn't stop falling. It kept falling, as two separate gauzes. The people on the hall cheered.

The swordman in blue said "This blade might be thin, but it will not break even if it blocks a heavy weapon."

Kou Chiang said "Minister Feng, try it."

Feng said "Yes." He walked in front of a liveried swordman, took out the sword and said "Draw, let's try it." The liveried swordman bowed, drew his sword, but he didn't dare to strike. Feng Li cried "Strike!" The swordman cut downward. Feng met it with his sword. The two swords met. The sword blade of the liveried swordmen was cut into two pieces. Before one of the pieces flew into him, Feng Li dodged wit great agility. The people inside the hall cheered. Were they cheering the sharpness of the blade, or the agility of Feng?

Feng Li put the sword back into the box and put the box next to the feet of the king. Kou Chiang said "Swordmen of the great kingdom, you are invited to the next hall for a feast and be awarded for the contest." The eight swordmen in blue bowed and left the hall. Kou Chiang waved his hand, all the swordmen, servants and ministers left, except for Feng Li.

Kou looked at the sword and the blood on the ground and said "What you do think?"

Feng Li said "Not all the Wu soldiers are as good as these eight. Not all swords wielded by them are as sharp as this one. But from this small example, we can see the rest. The most terrifying aspect is their technique of group fighting, they used the methods of Sun Tzu. I believe that they currently have no match in the world."

Kou Chiang said "Fu Chai sent these eight just to give me this sword. What does he have in mind?"

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