Tong Meng (Water Margin)
|Water Margin character|
|Nickname||"River Churning Clam"
|Rank||69th, Retreating Star (地退星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends|
|Navy leader of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Jieyang Ridge (believed to be in present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi)|
|First appearance||Chapter 37|
Tong Meng is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 69th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 33rd of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "River Churning Clam".
Tong Meng and his elder brother, Tong Wei, live in Jieyang Ridge (揭陽嶺; believed to be in present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi), on the bank of the Xunyang River. They are excellent swimmers and boatmen. They trade salt for a living. They are also close friends of Li Jun and his brother Li Li.
When Song Jiang is exiled to Jiangzhou (江州; east of present-day Chongzuo, Guangxi), he passes by Jieyang Ridge along the way and rests in Li Li's inn. Li Li knocks Song Jiang out by serving him drugged wine and wants to rob and kill him. Li Jun and the Tong brothers return to the inn, stop Li Li, and ask him to revive Song Jiang. When Song Jiang regains consciousness, Li Jun introduces him to Li Li and the Tong brothers. They are stunned when they learn of Song Jiang's true identity, because they have heard of his reputation as a generous and chivalrous hero, and wanted to meet him. Li Li apologises to Song Jiang, who befriends all of them.
Later on, Song Jiang runs into trouble with the Mu brothers (Mu Hong and Mu Chun) in the nearby Jieyang Town and is forced to flee from the town. He boards Zhang Heng's boat in desperation and is almost robbed and killed by Zhang, who is actually a pirate in disguise as a ferryman. Li Jun and the Tong brothers save Song Jiang and introduce him to Zhang Heng and the Mu brothers, who immediately apologise to him upon learning of his true identity. Song Jiang befriends them and continues on his journey to Jiangzhou.
In Jiangzhou, Song Jiang gets into trouble after writing a seditious poem while he was drunk, and is arrested and sentenced to death. However, the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh show up in Jiangzhou, storm the execution ground, rescue Song Jiang, and flee towards White Dragon Temple (白龍廟), which is beside the Xunyang River. They meet Li Jun, the Tong brothers and the others, who are waiting for them in their boats. Li Jun and his companions ferry Song Jiang and the outlaws back to the safety of Liangshan Marsh and then join the outlaw band there.
Tong Wei becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan navy after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong. During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, he accompanies Li Jun and Tong Wei on an espionage mission in Suzhou and assists their Liangshan comrades in capturing the city from Fang La's forces.
The Tong brothers are among the few surviving Liangshan heroes after the campaign against Fang La. If everything goes according to plan, they would return to the capital to report their victory and be awarded official posts by the emperor in recognition of their contributions during the campaigns. However, Li Jun and the Tong brothers perceive the government as corrupt, and are hence unwilling to be involved in politics. Li Jun feigns illness on the journey back to the capital and the Tong brothers request permission to remain behind to take care of him until he recovers. They are never seen again. It is said that Li Jun and the Tong brothers travelled to the port-city Taicang, set sail into the open sea, and eventually arrived in Siam (Thailand). Li Jun became the king of Siam while the Tong brothers and his companions become his subjects.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 139. 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.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
- (Japanese) Ichisada, Miyazaki. Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu. Chuo Koronsha, 1993. ISBN 978-4122020559.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China., page 84. KOEI, 1989.