Li Ying (Water Margin)
|Water Margin character|
|Rank||11th, Wealth Star (天富星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Chief accountant of Liangshan|
|Origin||Master of Li Family Village|
|Hometown||Lone Dragon Ridge|
|First appearance||Chapter 47|
|Weapon||Steel alloy spear (渾鐵點鋼槍); Flying daggers (飛刀)|
Li Ying is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 11th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Striking Hawk".
The Water Margin describes Li Ying as a unique-looking man with eyes like those of a hawk, a head like a tiger's, arms like an ape's and a waist like a wolf's. He dons a red robe, rides on a white stallion and wields a steel spear in combat. He is the master of the Li Family Village situated on Lone Dragon Ridge (獨龍崗), neighbouring the Hu and Zhu family villages. He is a wealthy squire with scores of servants and a small army under his command. Li Ying is friendly and always willing to use his wealth to help those in need. Li Ying is best known for the use of his flying daggers. His aim is very accurate and he can hurl a dagger and hit an enemy a long distance away from him. As such, he is nicknamed "Striking Hawk" for his superb accuracy and speed with using his daggers and his prowess in martial arts.
Battle of the Zhu Family Village
Once, Shi Qian is captured by the Zhu brothers from the Zhu Family Village after stirring up trouble there. His companions Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu pass by the Li Family Village along the way to seek help from Liangshan to rescue Shi Qian. They meet Li Ying's housekeeper Du Xing, who brings them to meet his master. Li Ying sympathises with Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu and decides to help them after hearing about the incident. He writes an apology letter to the Zhus on behalf of Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu, requesting that they release Shi Qian on account of their neighbour relationship. However, the Zhus refuse to release Shi Qian and insult Li Ying instead. Li Ying is angered and he goes to confront the Zhus, demanding Shi Qian's immediate release. Zhu Biao, the youngest of the Zhu brothers, shoots Li Ying in the arm with an arrow. Li Ying is wounded and falls off his horse. He is saved in time by Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu, who bring him back to his village.
Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu travel to Liangshan to seek help. Chao Gai sends Song Jiang to lead the outlaws to attack the Zhu Family Village. The outlaws launch three consecutive assaults on the village and the village eventually falls. Li Ying does not participate in the three battles as he is staying at home to recuperate.
Song Jiang is eager to recruit Li Ying to join the Liangshan cause. He asks Xiao Rang to disguise himself as an official and bring some men to the Li Family Village to "arrest" Li Ying for being in league with outlaws. Li Ying and Du Xing are bound and escorted as prisoners by the soldiers back to the county office. Along the way, the outlaws ambush the convoy and "rescue" the prisoners. Li Ying is initially unhappy when he discovers that his arrest is actually a fake one and an attempt by the outlaws to make him join them. However, after being persuaded by Song Jiang, Li Ying decides to join the Liangshan cause of "delivering justice on Heaven's behalf".
Campaigns and later life
Li Ying becomes one of the chief accountants in charge of Liangshan's income and provisions together with Chai Jin. After the heroes are granted amnesty by the emperor, Li Ying follows them on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces. He is one of the few lucky survivors of Liangshan after the campaigns. He is appointed as an official by the emperor in recognition of his contributions. He holds office for six months. When he hears that Chai Jin has resigned from his official post, he too feigns illness and resigns. He goes home with Du Xing and spends the rest of his life in luxury and comfort.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 23. EPB Publishers Pte Ltd, 1992. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
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