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Thread: The Book and the Sword (Last Chapter & Foreword)

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    Senior Member devilz91's Avatar
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    Default The Book and the Sword (Last Chapter & Foreword)

    This is the last chapter of The Book and the Sword that was added in the third edition:

    Original text: http://hi.baidu.com/aaliuyf1/blog/it...c574e0052.html

    Chapter 21
    Whence the Spirit


    On the journey returning to the desert, there was a crescent moon in the night sky. The moonlight spread across the yellow sand as far as the eye could see. In the tent, a camel saddle was used as a foundation while fleece was used as a thin felt. On top of the felt was an extremely sharp long sword. The edge of the blade illuminated a dark color and reflected the bloodstain on it.

    Afanti stroke his beard and said in an awe-inspiring tone: “Brother Chen, the Bald Vulture Chen Zhengde used this long sword to commit suicide. Furthermore, the Snow Condor Lady Chen also used it to slash her neck. The jade feather yellow garment requested me to give this sword to you. She said that if you want to commit suicide you do not need to jump off a bridge, you only have to use Old Chen’s sword. When the jade feather yellow garment receives the news of your death, she will use the dagger of her teacher Lady Chen to commit suicide. We Muslims are very true to what we say. We have never gone back on our word.

    Chen Jialuo was frightened and replied: “May I ask elder where the jade feather yellow garment is? Can you please take me to her?”

    Afanti laughed grimly and answered: “What’s the point? If you do not die, there will still be several decades left in your life to see her. If you want to kill yourself, then you two will meet in the fiery depths of hell.”

    Chen Jialuo replied in sadness: “Kasili committed suicide in order to warn us, and as a result saved over a dozen lives of the Red Flower Society. She will fall into the fiery depths of hell. This child is lonely and helpless, I must enter hell and join her.”

    Afanti burst into laughter. He laughed so hard that he could not control himself; he bent his waist and could not get up.

    Chen Jialuo bowed and saluted. “May I ask elder if I have spoken wrong? Please give me advice.”

    Afanti replied: “You once told Kasili that you wanted to convert to Muslim, but you never did so. The Quran states that Allah will punish those who commit suicide, they will be bound to the fiery depths of hell and suffer eternally. The fifty-fifth segment of the thirty-ninth chapter states: ‘The servant of Allah, if you sin, your spirit will be cursed. However, the benevolent Allah does not want to be disappointed. He will forgive your sins. He will be merciful towards those who he likes. Allah will forgive the genuine believer.’ The sixty-seventh segment of the fourth chapter of the Quran states: ‘To anyone who worships Allah and those who are apostle, those who live with saints, if they die for Allah, if they sacrifice themselves for Allah, Allah will reward them greatly.’ It also says: ‘Those who are willing to die for Allah for righteousness and have renounced their current life, regardless of whether they die or survive, Allah will reward them with a generous reward.’ What is the reward? ‘Following death they will ascend to Heaven into the holy garden to serve Allah…’ You have not been taught the instructions of Allah so you only know part of his teachings. Kasili died for her Muslim friends, which is equivalent to dying for Allah. Allah has long sent an angel to ascend her to Heaven.”

    Chen Jialuo only half-believed what he said and mumbled: “It’s no wonder that there was no body in her grave. Has she really ascended to Heaven?”

    Afanti said: “That, I don’t know. However, if you become a Muslim and die for Allah, you will receive Allah’s benevolence, and maybe you will encounter her when you ascend to Heaven.”

    Chen Jialuo became more alert at this prospect and said: “Elder, please take me to see one of your fall prostrates and request them to guide me. My whole life I have been taught the holy book of Confucius, and it turns out that it is incorrect. Ai, I am a worthless scholar. I have read the wrong books. Why do I speak of filial piety and righteousness when I have caused the deaths of so many of my brothers?”

    The old man with white hair sitting on the side of the tent stood up, moved forward a few steps and commented: “Great Helmsman Chen, you cannot say this. The teachings of Confucius are not incorrect.”

    Chen Jialuo bowed and replied: “Elder Lu, even if junior was more shameless, junior no longer has the face to be the head of the Red Flower Society. Junior is stupid beyond belief; believing the words of the Emperor, thinking that he truly considered our fraternal relationship and would fulfill his promise to drive out the Manchus and bring back the Hans. Not only is this bookworm ignorant to an extreme, causing the deaths of the Twin Eagles of Mount Heaven, Zhang Jin, and many other brothers in the society, he even caused the deaths of many senior monks of Shaolin. Junior has no choice but to commit suicide, firstly because I no longer have any face to face Heaven and Earth and must die as an apology for my offenses, and secondly because I wish to go to hell to reunite with my lover. Finally, I can give up my position as the leader of the society and hope that a more capable person can lead the several tens of thousands of members of the Red Flower Society.”

    This old man was Lu Feiqing of the Wudang Sect who excels in both martial arts and chivalry. When he retired he did not stop training in martial arts but also had more time to study books and even became a teacher at Li Keshou’s military school. “Confucius says: ‘To fight a tiger barehanded and wade rivers, one can die without regrets; to fight alone there may be fear at last minute, if not the plan would have succeeded.’ Confucius does not allow the heroism of one man.”

    Chen Jialuo nodded and replied: “The recent actions of junior in Beijing can be considered extremely reckless and impulsive, already in fear before the task is completed. I did not seek the advice of various elders beforehand; I took action after I had already planned it out.”

    Lu Feiqing said: “Great Helmsman Chen, if you kill yourself, you have committed the sin of being impetuous. Your suicide note caused the indescribable grief of Taoist Wuchen, Zhao Banshan, and any other master of the society. The cries of the society members shook the Heavens and scrambled the Earth.

    Taoist Wuchen said: “If you really commit suicide, we are all willing to join you in the underworld. We will continue to manage the Red Flower Society down below. It is the fault of everyone that our actions in Beijing failed this time, it was not solely your idea. In further consideration, the first who considered this idea was your foster father, you only followed your foster father’s wishes.”

    Chen Jialuo was speechless. Lu Feiqing shook his head and sighed: “’A day of anger and indignation may cause you to lose yourself, but compared to loved ones, can it be given up?’ Every member of the Red Flower Society can be considered your ‘loved ones’. If you give yourself up and suicide now, it would only be clouded judgement and you have forgotten everyone who cares for you.”

    Chen Jialuo replied: “Junior is not acting on clouded judgement, I have considered this thoroughly from beginning to end, I have no virtue or ability, no intelligence or bravery, and I am stupid enough to trust others, it is truly the case that I deserve death. I have no choice but to kill myself as an apology to the world…” As he said up to this part he began to weep and his speech became sobs.

    Lu Feiqing gently tapped his shoulder and said: “’The faults of a gentleman is like that of a day or night meal: if it is done, everyone knows; but if it is corrected, everyone will look up in respect.’ This statement is from the Analects of Confucius.”

    Chen Jialuo said: “Elder has taught junior correctly. But I have failed utterly and completely, I no longer have any way to redeem myself.”

    Lu Feiqing replied sternly: “Mencius said: ‘Use the land under Heaven as a wide residence, establish all under Heaven as your proper location, commit all righteous acts under Heaven.’ To accomplish one’s ambitions, one must work together with his people and must not act alone. To not be corrupted by wealth and honors, to preserve one’s ambitions through destitute, to be formidable without feeling wronged, is the characteristics of a profound gentleman.’ Besides, the brothers of the Red Flower Society and we all act bravely and are undaunted by perils. We serve our people and our country, we follow the righteous path under Heaven, we do not act alone. Even though the future looks difficult and we may not succeed, a gentleman will not shrink himself at the sign of trouble, there are still a myriad of people to look after.” He pounded himself hard on the chest a few times and continued: “Great Helmsman, we are courageous heroes, what do we have to be afraid of?”

    Chen Jialuo had read intensively various books of literature and knew that his words were quoted from the Analects of Confucius and Mencius’ Mr. Gongyang’s Annals, both holy Chinese books of profound knowledge. The connotation was utmost great and strong, he could not help but feel a nobility of spirit rise from his stomach. In a loud voice he declared: “Elder has instructed me very clearly, causing me to understand at once.” Once he said this, he used his lightness martial arts and ran far away.

    He ran consistently in a violent manner; the moonlight shining on the vast desert had long dispersed. He ran for over a dozen kilometres and unwittingly found himself by the lakeside. He felt his legs became limp and painful and his mouth was dry, so he bent over and drank the lake water and put both his arms in the water. Thereupon, he breathed deeply and rested.

    In a daze he was only half awake when he suddenly felt someone wipe his forehead gently with a damp cloth. He became startled and sat up, the lower half of his body in the water, he saw a young intelligent girl standing beside her. She was wearing a jade feather overhead and was dressed in a yellow garment. It was Huo Qingtong. Her right hand held a damp handkerchief and said: “Afanti was worried about you, so he told me to look after you; do you understand the meaning?”

    Chen Jialuo said: “Where is Kasili? Kasili… Kasili!” Suddenly he cried aloud and pounced on the ground.

    Chen Jialuo shouted: “Look! She’s up there sitting on the cloud! Can you see? Kasili, come down here, I will catch you, don’t be afraid!” He opened up his arms and ran forward, but the white cloud was much too far away, no matter what he could not reach underneath it.

    Chen Jialuo said: “Kasili, Allah is looking after you. You are not in hell, that is truly… truly great! Kasili, don’t cry. I am well. Your sister is well also.”

    Huo Qingtong ran beside him and saw him prancing about, afraid he would slip and fall, she supported him from behind and heard Chen Jialuo said softly: “Kasili, will you ask Allah, was it wrong of us to attack the Manchus and oppose the Emperor?”

    He turned his head to the side to listen to Heaven’s reply. He felt as if he could hear Princess Fragrance’s melodious voice reply clearly: “Allah says that all men and women throughout the world was made by him, they are all our brothers and sisters. Everyone should live together in harmony and love each other dearly. Do not talk about violence or allow injuries.”

    Chen Jialuo asked: “If the Manchus attack us, how will we resist?”

    He felt as if he heard Princess Fragrance’s reply on the white cloud: “We live together in peace. We should follow Allah’s rules and we should not offend them. If the Manchus attack us, kill us, steal our belongings and women, then Allah instructs that we should resist. Allah will protect the righteous ones who courageously resist against their attackers.”

    Chen Jialuo asked: “The Manchus attacked us yet we are bad people. We do not listen to Allah’s instructions, but are the Manchus not created by Allah as well?”

    He heard Princess Fragrance reply: “Manchus are also created by Allah. Every man and woman is created by Allah. Many do not believe in Allah and do not follow Allah’s commandments. Allah will punish those people and they will fail. In this world there are good and bad people. Amongst Hans there are good people, but there are also bad people. Amongst Manchus there are good people, but there are also bad people. Whoever helps out their brothers and sisters is a good person; whoever kills and bullies their brothers and sisters is a bad person.”

    Chen Jialuo said: “We only believe in Heaven, we do not believe in Allah. Heaven will bless and protect the benevolent and punish the evil. This is the same as Allah, is it not?”

    He heard Princess Fragrance reply: “We do not know what your Heaven is. I only know that Allah wants people to believe in him, he wants people to adhere to justice and do good deeds. He does not want people to do evil!”

    Chen Jialuo shouted: “Heaven rewards the benevolent and punishes the evil, I have believed this since I was small. It is the same with Allah.”

    He got up and looked at the sky and saw Princess Fragrance wearing completely white, blending in with the mist of the sky, high in the clouds. He was not sure if she was flying or not. He was afraid that what he saw was a mirage from his own hallucination and asked: “Kasili, is it really you?”

    He heard Princess Fragrance laugh gently and reply: “Of course it is me. Allah instructed Muhammad to write the Quran. On the thirtieth segment of the third chapter we are instructed: ‘Whoever kills another person, if not as a punishment against a murderer or death penalty, then it is as if you are killing everyone; whoever saves a life can be considered to have saved everyone. Whoever provokes war and kills his own fellow citizens or creates disturbances and upheavals deserve death or expulsion. They will be disgraced in their life and be punished severely in the afterlife.’”

    Chen Jialuo said: “You used your name to save me and over a dozen lives of the Red Flower Society. Allah says this is a good deed, that is why he instructed an angel to send you to Heaven, am I right?”

    Princess Fragrance replied: “Even if it was nothing remarkable, Allah is benevolent and merciful, he will forgive my faults.”

    Chen Jialuo felt a surge of appreciation and gratefulness in his heart. He knelt down and extended his hands toward the sky and said: “Thank you Allah for your benevolence!”

    He heard Princess Fragrance reply: “Brother, now that you know Allah’s benevolence, that is a good thing. Allah instructed that everyone should treat their neighbours well, assist orphans and widows and give them food to eat; everyone should be treated equally and with respect. Everyone should follow the rules of the Quran. Do not listen to the instigations of the malevolent or attack bystanders, Allah says this is not good. Everyone is your brother and sister, you must love and assist each other. You must not violate or hurt others.”

    Chen Jialuo looked and saw she became more distant and lighter, as if she was going to fade away. He felt a sense of urgency and said in a flustered and exasperated tone, “Kasili, don’t leave…”

    Princess Fragrance looked down on her body and her face was full of tenderness and affection. She spoke softly: “Brother, I will always be able to see you. We Muslims, you Hans, you Manchus, we are all the same, except we speak differently. Everyone will live in harmony forever and be treated equally. Everyone should not bear and hostility or animosity; all of your neighbours are your friends. You helped us, and Allah is happy, he said you are righteous. In the future, you and my sister will be together with me forever. Brother, I must part with you now. I am sorry, please don’t be sad. I will be in Heaven. You and my sister will be on earth, but my heart will always be with you. I will not cry, really. Brother, don’t cry…”

    Chen Jialuo spread out his arms and ran forward. The white cloud fluttered and flew in the distance, he could not catch it. Then it began to rain. The raindrops fell on his face. Chen Jialuo said: “You said you would not cry, then why are you crying? I won’t cry… I won’t cry…” He ran forward another few steps but his legs became numb and he fell over.

    Huo Qingtong saw him raise his hands in the air at the white cloud talking to himself, as if he was speaking to his sister on the cloud. But she saw that the cloud was dull and misty, there was no sight of anyone. It must be that he longed for his sister so much that he began to hallucinate. However, what he said was reasonable and did not violate any doctrine. To follow this train of thought may be a good thing. At once she rushed forward to support him and heard him say: “I won’t cry. Kasili won’t cry. Huo Qingtong… you should not cry either.” The rain gradually became larger and poured on the two of them…

    (The End)

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    Senior Member devilz91's Avatar
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    Default Foreword

    Foreword

    The Book and the Sword was the first novel I have ever written. From 1955 to present, it has been 56 years.

    I am from the Haining county in Zhejiang. I have heard the legend of Qianlong in my native place since I was young. When I was young, I was a child soldier. I once went to a camp near a pond built in memory of Qianlong; I went out in the middle of the night and watched the raging tides of the pond. Hence my first novel naturally captured the story that gave me the deepest impression. But the character of Chen Jialuo was fabricated by me, and Princess Fragrance does not reflect the history or legend of Concubine Fragrance. Princess Fragrance is much prettier than Concubine Fragrance.

    During the Qing Dynasty, Haining was a little county by the seaside that was part of Hangzhou. The name of Haining originated from tidal waves. In the Song Dynasty, there was a poetess by the name of Zhu Shuzhen. In modern times, famous poetesses include Wang Guowei, Jiang Baili, Xu Zhimo and others. Their poems all contain a sort of elegance, sorrow, tragedy, and a hint of stubborn untimeliness. The character of Chen Jialuo may have some traces of their personalities. However, Haining does not produce many military strategists, even though the military expert Jiang Baili resides here, but he only knows how to discuss military strategy and does not know how to execute. In history, famous military strategists from Haining existed during the time of the Tang Dynasty and include Zhang Xun defending Juyang from the distance.

    The Historian Meng Sen made a textual criticism and said that Qianlong as the descendant of the Chen family in Haining is ludicrous, and that the folklore that Consort Fragrance’s death was caused by the Empress Dowager is false. Of course, historians naturally do not like folklores, but novelists do. His main reason was “It is incompatible with history.” Moreover, any folklore relating to harming the imperial family would not be written to “true history”.

    The Qianlong pond in Haining was constructed with an all-out effort until it was completed. This matter was honorific of the people. In the novel I wrote him such that he was excessively unbearable, sometimes you feel sorry for him. His actions are not good. Originally this is not relevant, it is during my youth in Haining, Hangzhou where I saw various stone inscriptions of his writings, I was actually disgusted. Now when I observe famous paintings in the museum, I still see his inscriptions. If I do not satirize him, I cannot withhold my anger.

    Besides practicing writing in elementary school, I have never practiced writing. The names of the novels and my signature on the cover is not worth the praise of a calligrapher, and the verses don’t mean much to me. Until recently when I altered my novels, I browsed Mr. Wang Li’s “Chinese Language and Law Studies” and I felt uneasy learning it. I did not plan to write Qianlong’s poems; Chen Jialuo and Yu Yutong’s poems are also very childish. In the beginning of the novel, Chen Jialuo was a placed candidate in the provincial examinations, but I realized that the verses of a candidate could not be so clumsy, hence when I revised the novel, I removed his rank as a candidate. Even though Yu Yutong was a scholar, his poems should not be at the level of a novice. But his nickname is “Golden Flute Scholar”, that name can be worked around but cannot be removed. The chapter titles of the novel were also inadequate, in the first edition of the novel the titles were weak, but now they have been improved.

    This novel was initially published in a newspaper, later it was published as a single volume. After it had been modified and revised and reprinted, nearly every phrase has been altered. The third edition saw yet more changes. From inland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas, readers sent me letters or articles of commentary to point out the mistakes in my writing or to give suggestions. Their devotion is quite touching.

    The Book and the Sword was the first long novel I have ever written. I lacked experience and training, my writing style and plot emulated my predecessors a lot. Now I have removed and revised these emulations, but the traces of a naďve feel of a first book could not be erased, but at least it is an independent piece of work.

    At the time of writing the third edition, I sought the complete writings of the Quran and tried to be as sincere as I could in hopes that my novel did not violate any Islam principles and to give off a vibe that the author respects all religions equally. The various religions each have profound doctrines and the shallow scholar cannot easily be introduced to them.

    In the works of Jin Yong, every book consists of a colourful illustration in hopes that readers (and above all, foreign readers) can come in touch with more Chinese historical writings and novels. If you feel that the novel is boring and senseless, you can look at the pictures. The “Jin Yong Collections” stamp at the end of the novel was made by the inscriptor Mr. Yi Yueshi from Hong Kong. When the novel was published, my good friends Shen Baoxin, Wang Rongwen, my colleagues Mr. Chen Huasheng and Mr. Xu Xiaodong, Madam Wu Yufen, Mr. Xu Dai, Miss Li Jiaying, Miss Zheng Xianglin, Mr. Jiang Fangnian taught me a lot. Most of it has been received and implemented into the new edition. Thanks a lot.

    -May 1975, First Edition
    -July 2002, Third Edition

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    Senior Member wandering's Avatar
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    thanx for the translations...it's been a few years since i read this book...but i remember not liking the original ending to the book and the sword....
    this one i think is way better....
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