- This article is about the Water Margin character, Zhu Tong. He is not to be confused with another Water Margin character Zhou Tong or the archer Zhou Tong.
|Water Margin character|
|Nickname||"Lord of the Beautiful Beard"
|Rank||12th, Fulfillment Star (天滿星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Tiger Cub Vanguard General of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Yuncheng County (in present-day Heze, Shandong)|
|First appearance||Chapter 13|
Zhu Tong is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 12th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Lord of the Beautiful Beard".
Zhu Tong is a constable from Yuncheng County (in present-day Heze, Shandong). He stands at eight chi and four or five cun, and sports a beard a chi and five cun long. His sparkling eyes and beard make him resemble Guan Yu in appearance; he is thus nicknamed "Lord of the Beautiful Beard". He is also highly regarded by the magistrate of Yuncheng County because he is not only chivalrous, but is also very generous in using his wealth to help the less privileged. He befriends other famous jianghu figures and practises martial arts in his free time.
Zhu Tong and his colleague Lei Heng maintain a close friendship with Chao Gai. When Chao Gai and his six friends are revealed to be the ones responsible for robbing a convoy of birthday gifts meant for Cai Jing (the Imperial Tutor), the magistrate orders Zhu Tong and Lei Heng to arrest them. However, Zhu Tong and Lei Heng respect Chao Gai and value their friendship with him, so they secretly help him and his friends escape.
Not long after the incident, Song Jiang (the magistrate's clerk) kills Yan Poxi after she discovered his connections with the outlaws and threatened to report him to the authorities. The magistrate orders Zhu Tong and Lei Heng to arrest Song Jiang, but they secretly help him escape on account of their friendship. Since then, Zhu Tong's civil career has undertaken a slight deviation as he is inclined to side with his outlaw friends instead of performing his duties as a law enforcer.
Becoming an outlaw
In another incident, Lei Heng is arrested and sentenced to exile in Jizhou (薊州; present-day Ji County, Tianjin) after killing the singer Bai Xiuying, who insulted and slapped his mother. Zhu Tong is tasked with escorting Lei Heng to the prison camp in Jizhou, but he secretly releases Lei along the way, returns to Yuncheng County and claims that he accidentally allowed Lei to escape. The magistrate sentences him to exile in Cangzhou for negligence in his duty.
The prefect of Cangzhou treats Zhu Tong well and entrusts his son to Zhu's care. Zhu Tong's outlaw friends from Liangshan Marsh come to Cangzhou and try to persuade him to join them, but he firmly refuses. Li Kui kills the prefect's son to force Zhu Tong to become an outlaw. Zhu Tong feels angry about being compelled to join the outlaws, but has no choice because he knows that the prefect will not let him off if he returns to Cangzhou.
Campaigns and later life
Zhu Tong becomes one of the Eight Tiger Cubs Vanguard Generals of the Liangshan cavalry 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. He makes great contributions during the campaigns and is one of the few surviving Liangshan heroes after the campaigns. The emperor offers him an official post to recognise him for his contributions and he accepts it.
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