Xue Yong

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Xue Yong
Water Margin character
Nickname "Sick Tiger"
病大蟲
Rank 84th, Tranquil Star (地幽星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Infantry leader of Liangshan
Origin Medicine peddler
Ancestral home / Place of origin Luoyang, Henan
First appearance Chapter 36
Names
Simplified Chinese 薛永
Traditional Chinese 薛永
Pinyin Xuē Yǒng
Wade–Giles Hsüeh Yung
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Xue.

Xue Yong is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 84th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 48th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Sick Tiger".[notes 1]

Background[edit]

Xue Yong is from Luoyang, Henan. He excels in martial arts and specialises in staff and spear movements. He earns a living as a medicine peddler by performing martial arts and physical feats on the streets to promote the drugs he sells. He is nicknamed "Sick Tiger".

Meeting Song Jiang[edit]

Xue Yong arrives in Jieyang Town (揭陽鎮; believed to be in present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi), near the Xunyang River, while roaming around. He unknowingly offends the Mu brothers (Mu Hong and Mu Chun), the most influential men in the town, by failing to acknowledge their presence. In revenge, Mu Chun forbids the townsfolk from buying Xue Yong's medicine or paying him for his performance. At the time, Song Jiang passes by Jieyang Town on his way to exile in Jiangzhou (江州; east of present-day Chongzuo, Guangxi), and he pays Xue Yong five silver taels for his performance. Mu Chun is furious with Song Jiang for disregarding him and wants to beat up Song, but Xue Yong comes to Song's aid and defeats Mu in a fight.

Song Jiang thanks Xue Yong for saving him and they become friends. Xue Yong intends to join Song Jiang on his journey to Jiangzhou, so he returns to the inn and packs his belongings. While he is preparing to leave, the Mu brothers and their followers show up at the inn, overpower and capture him, and then beat him up before moving off in pursuit of Song Jiang, who has fled from Jieyang Town after overhearing the Mu brothers' plans to take revenge on him.

In desperation, Song Jiang boards Zhang Heng's boat, without knowing that Zhang is actually a pirate who robs unsuspecting travellers. When the boat reaches the middle of the river, Zhang Heng wants to kill Song Jiang and rob him, but is stopped by Li Jun. Zhang Heng and the Mu brothers are shocked when they learn of Song Jiang's true identity from Li Jun, because they have heard of his reputation as a generous and chivalrous hero who helps those in need, and have been wanting to meet him. They apologise to him, treat him like an honoured guest and release Xue Yong. Later, they see Song Jiang off on his journey to Jiangzhou.

Joining Liangshan[edit]

Song Jiang runs into trouble in Jiangzhou later and is sentenced to death. However, the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh show up Jiangzhou, storm the execution ground, and save Song Jiang. After escaping from Jiangzhou, they head towards the riverbank, where Li Jun, the Mu brothers, Xue Yong and others are waiting for them in boats. They ferry the outlaws back to Liangshan Marsh. Xue Yong joins the outlaw band at Liangshan.

After returning to Liangshan, Song Jiang wants to take revenge on Huang Wenbing, the corrupt official who framed him for treason and caused him to almost lose his life in Jiangzhou. Xue Yong recommends his apprentice Hou Jian, who works as a tailor in Huang Wenbing's house, to help Song Jiang and the outlaws take revenge on Huang. With Hou Jian's help, the outlaws break into Huang Wenbing's home, kill him and his family, and then return to Liangshan together.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Xue Yong becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan infantry 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, Xue Yong is assigned to attack Yuling Pass (昱嶺關; near present-day Zhupu Village, She County, Huangshan City, Anhui), which is guarded by Fang La's general Pang Wanchun. He is killed by Pang Wanchun's archers during the battle along with another four Liangshan heroes.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Note that '大蟲', which literally means "big bug", was a slang term for "tiger" in ancient China. It was commonly used in place of '虎', the conventional Chinese term for "tiger".

References[edit]