Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain
Cover of the 1977 edition of the novel
|Publisher||Ming Pao, Chinese University Press|
Published in English
|Preceded by||The Young Flying Fox|
|Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain|
Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain, also known as Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain, is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). It was first serialised in Hong Kong between 9 February and 18 June 1959 in the newspaper Ming Pao.
The novel has a prequel, The Young Flying Fox, which was released in 1960. Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain is one of Jin Yong's shortest novels, with only 10 chapters. The chapters are labelled in numerical order, instead of Jin Yong's typical style of using a short phrase or duilian as a chapter's heading.
Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain is unique in structure among Jin Yong's novels because it employs a frame narrative as well as the literary devices of unreliable narrators and storytelling flashbacks. The actual time frame of the novel lasts only a day, but the stories encapsulated in it stretch back months, years and even decades before.
In the revised afterword to the novel, Jin Yong states that his inspiration did not derive from Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film Rashomon as many people had falsely assumed. The literary devices used in the novel have been used very often in literature, such as in One Thousand and One Nights and Illustrious Words to Instruct the World.
The story begins in the Changbai mountains in northeastern China during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing dynasty. It follows the classical unity of time, taking place on a single day, which is the 15th day of the third month in the Chinese calendar, in the 45th year in the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (i.e. 19 April 1780 in the Gregorian calendar).
A group of martial artists unearth a treasure chest and begin fighting for it. The reason for them doing so is deliberately kept from the reader at this point of time. Midway during their tussle, they are overpowered and coerced by a highly skilled monk, Baoshu, to travel to a manor at the top of Jade Brush Peak (玉筆峰) to help the manor's owner drive away an enemy, Hu Fei, who is nicknamed "Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain". They start telling stories concerning the origin of a precious saber in the chest and their mysterious foe (Hu Fei). In doing so, they gradually reveal each other's personal secrets.
The saber's story dates back over a century ago to the feuds of the four bodyguards under the warlord Li Zicheng, who led a rebellion that overthrew the Ming dynasty. The four guards' family names were Hu, Miao, Tian and Fan. Owing to a massive misunderstanding, which lasted several generations, their descendants have been slaying each other in a vendetta that prevented any of them from uncovering the truth. The Hu clan was opposed to those from the Miao, Tian and Fan families; the latter three were allies.
The people gathered at the manor are either descendants of the four bodyguards or are otherwise embroiled in the feud. Hu Fei's father, Hu Yidao, met Miao Renfeng, a descendant of the Miao family. Both were masterful martial artists without peer. Miao Renfeng, Hu Yidao and his wife developed an uncommon friendship and grew to admire each other, but Hu and Miao must fight unwilling duels to avenge their parents' deaths. Under the schemes of the villain Tian Guinong, Hu Yidao was slayed unintentionally by Miao Renfeng when Tian secretly smeared his sword with poison. Hu Yidao's infant son, Hu Fei, was rescued and raised by a waiter, Ping A'si, whose life Hu Yidao once saved. Hu Fei grew up and became a powerful martial artist nicknamed "Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain".
The various scheming martial artists are eventually punished by their greed. Hu Fei makes an appearance midway in the story.
The conflict reaches a climax when Miao Renfeng challenges Hu Fei to a duel owing to a misunderstanding that Hu has intentionally molested his daughter, Miao Ruolan. They fight for several rounds but neither emerges the victor. They are stranded on a cliff about to collapse under their weight and the novel comes to its climactic end. Hu Fei has an opportunity to attack Miao Renfeng and knock him off the cliff, but he hesitates because Miao might become his future father-in-law. If he refrains, either they will fall to their deaths or Miao will kill him. The novel ends on a deliberate cliffhanger and leaves the conclusion to the reader's imagination.
- Hu Fei (胡斐; Hú Fěi; Wu4 Fei2), nicknamed "Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain" (雪山飛狐; 雪山飞狐; Xuěshān Fēihú; Syut3 Saan1 Fei1 Wu4), is the protagonist of the novel.
- Hu Yidao (胡一刀; Hú Yīdāo; Wu4 Jat1-dou1) is a legendary hero from Liaodong. He was highly respected by the ethnic minority tribes living there not only for his prowess in martial arts, but also for his gregarious character. He befriends Miao Renfeng despite the past feuds of their ancestors. He was killed unintentionally by Miao Renfeng.
- Miao Renfeng (苗人鳳; 苗人凤; Miáo Rénfèng; Miu4 Jan4-fung6) is a formidable martial artist nicknamed "Golden Faced Buddha" (金面佛). He forged a friendship with Hu Yidao despite the past feuds of their ancestors. He killed Hu Yidao unintentionally and has been feeling guilty about it.
- Miao Ruolan (苗若蘭; 苗若兰; Miáo Ruòlán; Miu4 Joek6-laan4) is Miao Renfeng's daughter. She is forbidden to learn martial arts by her father, who does so to remind himself of the guilt of accidentally killing Hu Yidao. She falls in love with Hu Fei.
- Tian Guinong (田歸農; 田归农; Tián Guīnóng; Tin4 Gwai1-nung4) is a descendant of one of the four bodyguards. He is a scheming and unscrupulous person who plots to kill Hu Yidao and Miao Renfeng in his plan to gain a higher social status. He smeared poison on their weapons and indirectly caused the death of Hu Yidao.
- Ping A'si (平阿四; Píng Ā'sì; Ping4 Aa3-sei3) is a young man indebted to Hu Yidao, who once saved his life. He rescued the infant Hu Fei and raised him to repay Hu Yidao's kindness. He is humble and shy and always feels inferior to others.
- Nan Lan (南蘭; 南兰; Nán Lán; Naam4 Laan4) is Miao Renfeng's wife and Miao Ruolan's mother. She was born in an aristocrat family so she is spoiled and extravagant. After her marriage to Miao Renfeng, she is unable to cope with his frugal lifestyle and decides to leave with Tian Guinong.
|Year||Production||Main cast||Additional information|
|1964||Emei Film Company
|Chiang Han, Pearl Au, Lee Yuet-ching, Shih Kien||See The Flying Fox in the Snowy Mountains|
|1978||CTV (Hong Kong)||Barry Chan, Jason Pai, Law Lok-lam, Michelle Yim, Wen Hsueh-erh, Lee Tong-ming||See The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (1978 film)|
Many of the television adaptations combine the plots of Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain and The Young Flying Fox.
|Year||Production||Main cast||Additional information|
|1985||TVB (Hong Kong)||Ray Lui, Patrick Tse, Kenneth Tsang, Rebecca Chan, Chow Sau-lan, King Doi-yum, Margie Tsang||See The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (1985 TV series)|
|1991||TTV (Taiwan)||Meng Fei, Mini Kung, Mu Sicheng, Tong Chun-chung, Wu Yujuan, Wang Luyao||See The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (1991 TV series)|
|1999||TVB (Hong Kong)||Sunny Chan, Felix Wong, Wan Yeung-ming, Cheung Siu-fai, Maggie Siu, Charmaine Sheh, Joyce Tang||See The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (1999 TV series)|
|2006||ATV (Hong Kong)||Nie Yuan, Gillian Chung, Athena Chu, Ady An, Patrick Tam, Alex Fong, Anthony Wong||See Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain (2006 TV series)|
In 1981, Hong Kong's RTHK made a 15 episodes radio drama based on the novel.
An English translation by Olivia Mok was published in 1996 under the title Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain.
- The date conforms to the data published in Chen Zhenhui (陳鎮輝), Wuxia Xiaoshuo Xiaoyao Tan (武俠小說逍遙談), 2000, Huizhi Publishing Company (匯智出版有限公司), pg. 57.
- "金庸创作了《雪山飞狐》...将整部小说的结构，推向了一个新的境界，通过一连串的倒叙，倒叙出自每一个人的口中，有每一个人之间的说法，有极度扑朔迷离的情形下，将当年发生的事，一步一步加以揭露......这是一种独特的表达方式......每一个人既然都站在自己的立场，为自己的利益作打算来叙述发生的事": 倪匡，《我看金庸小说》 (Ni Kuang, Jin Yong's novels as I read them)
- “我用几个人讲故事的形式写《雪山飞狐》，报上还没发表完，香港就有很多读者写信问我：是不是模仿电影《罗生门》？这样说的人中，甚至有一位很有学问的我的好朋友。我有点生气，只简单的回复：请读中国的《三言二拍》，请读外国的《天方夜谭》，请读基督教圣经《旧约列王纪上十六一二十八》......日本电影《罗生门》在香港放映，很受欢迎，一般人受了这电影的教育，以为如果有两人说话不同，其中一人说的是假话，那就是《罗生门》......其实，说道讲真假故事，世上自有《天方夜谭》之后，横扫全球，“罗生门”何足道哉？......” 世纪新修版《雪山飞狐》，后记 (Revised afterword to Fox Volant New Century edition)