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 the Li Family Village|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Yunzhou, Zhongshan Prefecture (around present-day Dongping County, Tai'an, Shandong)|
|First appearance||Chapter 47|
|Weapon||Steel alloy spear (渾鐵點鋼槍); Flying daggers (飛刀)|
Li Ying is a fictional character in 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 novel 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 battle. He is best known for using his flying daggers, which he uses to accurately strike enemies a distance away from him. He is nicknamed "Striking Hawk" for his superb accuracy and speed with using his daggers and for his prowess in combat skills.
Li Ying is from Yunzhou (鄆州), Zhongshan Prefecture (中山府), which is around present-day Dongping County, Tai'an, Shandong. He is the master of the Li Family Village, one of the three villages near Lone Dragon Ridge (獨龍崗); the other two villages are the Zhu and Hu family villages. A wealthy squire with scores of servants and a small militia under his command, he is friendly and always willing to use his wealth to help those in need.
Battle of the Zhu Family Village
When Shi Qian is captured by the Zhu brothers from the Zhu Family Village after causing trouble there, his companions Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu travel to the neighbouring Li Family Village to seek help from Li Ying. They meet Li Ying's steward, Du Xing, who brings them to 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, Shi Xiu and Shi Qian, and requests that the Zhus release Shi Qian on account of their relationship as neighbours. However, the Zhus not only refuse to release Shi Qian, but also insult Li Ying. Li Ying is angered and he goes to confront the Zhus and demand 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 Marsh to seek help from the outlaws there. 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 because he is staying at home to recuperate.
Song Jiang is eager to recruit Li Ying to join Liangshan, so he asks Xiao Rang to impersonate a government official and lead some men in disguise as soldiers to the Li Family Village to pretend to arrest Li Ying for collaborating with outlaws. Li Ying and Du Xing are captured and escorted as prisoners back to the county office. Along the way, the outlaws pretend to ambush the convoy and rescue Li Ying and Du Xing. Li Ying feels grateful to the outlaws for saving him, but becomes unhappy when he realises that the outlaws had staged the entire incident to trick him into joining them. However, after being persuaded by Song Jiang, Li Ying changes his mind and decides to join Liangshan.
Campaigns and later life
Li Ying becomes one of the two chief accountants in charge of Liangshan's income and provisions after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong, and is one of the few surviving Liangshan heroes after the campaigns.
The emperor appoints him as an official to recognise him for his contributions to the Song Empire during the campaigns. After holding office for six months, Li Ying hears that Chai Jin has resigned and returned home so he feigns illness and resigns too. He and Du Xing go back to their village at Lone Dragon Ridge and spend the rest of their lives in luxury and comfort.
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- 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.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China, pages 68–70. KOEI, 1989.
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- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.