Shi Qian

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Shi Qian
Water Margin character
Nickname "Flea on a Drum"
Rank 107th, Thief Star (地賊星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Scout leader of Liangshan
Origin Thief, tomb raider
Hometown Gaotangzhou (present-day Gaotang County, Liaocheng, Shandong)
First appearance Chapter 46
Weapon Pudao
Simplified Chinese 时迁
Traditional Chinese 時遷
Pinyin Shí Qiān
Wade–Giles Shih Ch'ien
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Shi.

Shi Qian is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 107th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 71st of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Flea on a Drum".


Shi Qian is from Gaotangzhou (present-day Gaotang County, Liaocheng, Shandong). Although he has an ugly appearance, he is very fit, agile and nimble. He goes to Jizhou (蓟州; present-day Ji County, Tianjin) and steals for a living. He is nicknamed "Flea on a Drum" for his excellent thieving skills.

Joining Liangshan[edit]

Shi Qian runs into some trouble in Jizhou and Yang Xiong helps him. After raiding a tomb, by coincidence, he witnesses Yang Xiong killing his adulterous wife, Pan Qiaoyun. Shi Qian threatens to report Yang Xiong to the county office if Yang does not bring him along to Liangshan Marsh. Shi Qian, Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu travel together and stop by the inn at the Zhu Family Village for a break.

Shi Qian steals the innkeeper's hen and creates havoc in the village. Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu manage to escape safely but Shi Qian is captured by the Zhus. Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu seek help from Li Ying to save Shi Qian and Li writes an apology letter to the Zhus on behalf of the three men, requesting that they release Shi Qian. The Zhus refuse and insult Li Ying. Li Ying is furious and he confronts the Zhus. He is wounded by an arrow fired by Zhu Biao and forced to retreat.

Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu then travel to Liangshan to seek help. Song Jiang leads the outlaws to attack the Zhu Family Village and succeed in rescuing Shi Qian. Shi Qian becomes part of the Liangshan outlaw band and plays an important role in the recruitment of Xu Ning. He is sent to steal Xu Ning's golden armour and lure Xu to Liangshan. Xu Ning helps the outlaws defeat the imperial forces led by Huyan Zhuo.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Shi Qian becomes one of the scout leaders of Liangshan after the Grand Assembly. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by the emperor. He is one of the few survivors after the campaigns but he does not make it back to the capital even after the victory, as he dies from an intestinal disease on the return journey.