PianPian: Love Story with Fairy

Discover an enchanting tale of love and mysticism as Luozifu's mountain life intertwines with the celestial Pianpian, eating tree leaves, wearing white clouds, blurring reality and magic.

Luozifu was a native of Binzhou, Shaanxi. His parents passed away at a very young age, and from the age of eight or nine, he was raised by his uncle, Luo Daye. Luo Daye was an official at the National Academy, and although he had considerable wealth, he had no children of his own. He cherished Luozifu dearly and treated him as his own son.

When Luozifu was fourteen years old, he was lured by bad influences and became obsessed with seeking pleasure and indulgence.

At that time, there was a prostitute who had come from Jinling and settled in Binzhou. Luozifu was very fond of her and deeply infatuated with her. When the prostitute returned to Jinling, Luozifu secretly followed her and left his home. He lived at the prostitute’s place for six months, spending all the money he had brought with him. He began to face ridicule and rejection from the prostitutes, but he was not immediately kicked out of the brothel.

Before long, Luozifu contracted a sexually transmitted disease, with his lower body festering and oozing filthy pus, staining the bedding. Finally, the prostitutes kicked him out.

Luozifu was plagued by illness, penniless, and reduced to begging on the streets. People would avoid him from afar when they saw him. Fearing that he might die in a foreign land, Luozifu headed west, begging for food along the way as he journeyed towards his hometown. He managed to cover about thirty to forty miles a day, and day by day, he gradually approached the boundaries of Binzhou. Seeing his tattered clothes and festering sores all over his body, he felt too ashamed to face his family. Eventually, he lingered in a neighboring county near Binzhou, unable to move forward.

One evening, Luozifu intended to seek shelter for the night in a temple within the mountains. On his way to the mountains, he encountered a woman of extraordinary beauty, resembling a celestial being. As Luozifu approached, she asked, “Where are you headed?” Luozifu truthfully explained his situation to her. The woman said, “I am a recluse, and the place where I reside has a mountain cave. You can stay there without any fear of tigers or wolves.” Luozifu was overjoyed and followed her.

Deep within the mountains, they indeed found a large cave. Upon entering, they discovered a small stream in front of the cave entrance, with a little stone bridge above it. A few steps further into the cave, they found two stone chambers, brightly lit without the need for candles. The woman instructed Luozifu to remove his tattered clothing and bathe in the stream, saying, “Washing up will naturally heal your festering sores.” After bathing, the woman raised the curtain, spread out bedding, and urged him to sleep, saying, “Rest early, and I will make you a set of clothes.” She then fetched a large leaf resembling a banana leaf and skillfully fashioned it into clothing, while Luozifu watched. In no time, the clothes were finished, and the woman neatly placed them at the foot of his bed, saying, “Put them on first thing in the morning.” She then went to sleep on the bed opposite him.

After bathing in the stream, Luozifu’s festering sores no longer hurt. In the middle of the night, he awoke from a dream and touched the thick layer of scabs that had formed over his sores. The next morning, when Luozifu was about to get up, he remembered the banana leaf clothing by his bedside. With some suspicion, he picked up the clothing and found it to be incredibly smooth green silk.

A while later, it was time for breakfast. The woman collected some leaves from the mountains, claiming they were pancakes. When Luozifu tasted them, they were indeed pancakes. She then skillfully cut some leaves into the shape of chickens and fish, cooked them in a pot, and when Luozifu tasted them, they were just like the real thing. In a corner of the stone chamber, there was a large jar filled with exquisite wine. The woman would often pour some out and, as the jar was emptied slightly, she would replenish it with stream water.

Luozifu stayed in the mountains for several days, and all his scabs had fallen off. He then asked the woman if they could share the same bed. The woman replied, “You shameless fellow! You’ve only just preserved your life and you’re already having such thoughts!” Luozifu said, “I simply want to repay your kindness.” From that moment on, the two of them slept together, grew fond of each other, and lived happily ever after.

One day, a young woman entered the cave with a smile and exclaimed as soon as she walked in, “Pianpian, you mischievous little rascal, you must be having a great time! When did you two become so close?” Pianpian welcomed her warmly, saying, “It’s Lady Huacheng! It’s been a while since you last visited. Today must be due to a strong southwest wind that blew you here! Did you bring the little lord with you?” Lady Huacheng replied, “It’s just another little girl. I managed to soothe her a while ago, and now she’s sleeping.” With that, Lady Huacheng sat down gracefully, picked up a wine glass, and began sipping slowly.

Lady Huacheng then turned her gaze towards Luozifu and said, “Young sir, you’ve got a burning incense here.” Luozifu carefully observed Lady Huacheng. She appeared to be in her early twenties, with striking beauty and captivating grace. Luozifu’s heart was smitten with her once again. As Luozifu was peeling fruit absentmindedly, he accidentally dropped a piece under the table. He bent over to pretend to pick up the fruit, but secretly, he pinched Lady Huacheng’s foot. She gazed elsewhere and chatted as if she knew nothing. Luozifu, lost in his own thoughts, suddenly felt his clothes becoming cool. He glanced at his clothes and saw that they had turned into autumn leaves. He was almost scared out of his wits and hastily composed himself, sitting upright. After sitting properly for a while, his clothes gradually returned to their original state. Luozifu was relieved that the two women hadn’t noticed his embarrassing moment.

A little while later, using the pretext of offering more wine, Luozifu lightly scratched Lady Huacheng’s palm with his fingers. She remained composed and seemed completely oblivious. Luozifu’s heart raced, and he felt somewhat disoriented. Suddenly, he noticed his clothes turning into leaves again, only to return to normal after a while. Feeling ashamed, Luozifu dispelled any thoughts of teasing Lady Huacheng and dared not have any improper intentions. Lady Huacheng chuckled and said, “Your little man at home isn’t very well-behaved! If it weren’t for Lady Cucumber Gourd’s discipline, he might have jumped up to the heavens.” Pianpian also smiled and said, “Such an unfaithful creature, we should let him freeze!” Both women clapped their hands and burst into laughter.

Lady Huacheng got up and took her leave, saying, “The little girl will wake up soon, and she might cry her heart out.” Pianpian also stood up and added, “Busy seducing other people’s men, you’ve probably forgotten about Little Jiangcheng crying to death.” After Lady Huacheng left, Luozifu felt uneasy, fearing Pianpian might scold him. However, Pianpian treated him as usual.

Some time passed, and it was deep autumn, with a biting cold wind and falling frost-covered leaves. Pianpian began to collect fallen leaves and store food in preparation for the winter. Seeing Luozifu shivering from the cold, she picked up a piece of cloud-patterned fabric and made him a padded jacket, as if it were filled with cotton. Luozifu wore it and felt warm, light, and fluffy, just like putting on a new cotton jacket.

The following year, Pianpian gave birth to a son, who was extremely intelligent and handsome. Luozifu would play with his son in the cave every day. However, he often longed for his hometown and asked Pianpian to return with him. Pianpian replied, “I cannot go back with you. You should go on your own.” So, they continued in this manner for another two or three years. As their son grew older, he became engaged to Lady Huacheng’s daughter.

Luozifu frequently thought of his elderly uncle, and Pianpian comforted him, saying, “Although your uncle is getting older, he is still healthy and doesn’t need you to worry. After we raise our son to adulthood and complete his marriage, you can decide whether to return or stay.”

Pianpian often wrote on leaves in the cave to teach their son how to read. The boy had exceptional talent and a photographic memory. Pianpian said, “This child has a bright future, and he could become a high-ranking official in the world.” Several years later, their son was fourteen years old. Lady Huacheng personally brought her daughter, Jiangcheng, for the wedding. Jiangcheng was dressed in magnificent attire, with enchanting beauty. Luozifu and Pianpian were delighted, and the whole family gathered for a grand celebration.

During the banquet, Pianpian tapped her golden hairpin and sang, “I have a good son; I don’t envy being a prime minister. I have a good daughter-in-law; I don’t envy wearing silk clothes. Tonight, we gather in joy. Raise your cups in celebration. I toast to you, encouraging you to eat more.” Later, after Lady Huacheng left, Pianpian and her husband and son lived in neighboring houses with their daughter-in-law.

The new daughter-in-law was exceptionally filial, always leaning against her mother-in-law’s knees, as if she were their own daughter. Luozifu once again brought up the idea of returning to his hometown, but Pianpian said, “You have worldly ties, and you cannot become an immortal. Our son has a promising future. You can take him with you; I don’t want to hinder his prospects.”

The new daughter-in-law was about to bid farewell to her mother when Lady Huacheng arrived. The two young couples were reluctant to part, tears filling their eyes. Both mothers comforted them, saying, “You can go for now, and you can always come back later.” So, Pianpian made a pair of donkeys from leaves and had them ride the donkeys. At that moment, Luozifu’s uncle, Luo Daye, who thought his nephew had long since passed away, suddenly saw his nephew return with his handsome grandson and beautiful granddaughter-in-law. He was overjoyed. When the three of them entered the house, they each realized that their clothes were made of banana leaves. When they tugged, the banana leaves tore, and the white cloud-like cotton inside slowly ascended into the sky. So, they all changed their clothes.

Later, Luozifu and his son went deep into the mountains in search of Pianpian. They found the familiar path covered with yellow leaves, and the route to the cave blocked by thick white clouds, making it unrecognizable. With tears in their eyes, Luozifu and his son had no choice but to return.

The chronicler of strange tales says, “Pianpian and Lady Huacheng were probably immortal beings, right? Eating tree leaves, wearing white clouds – how peculiar! However, the laughter and arguments in the boudoir, the joys and loves of men and women, and the raising of children – aren’t they no different from worldly affairs? Luozifu lived in the mountains for fifteen years. While he didn’t experience the changing times of ‘the city remains the same, but the people have changed,’ when he returned to the cave in search of Pianpian, it had become a place shrouded in misty white clouds, and the old traces were nowhere to be found. This situation is quite similar to the story of Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao revisiting the celestial beings during the Eastern Han dynasty.”

《翩翩》

罗子浮,邠人。父母俱早世,八九岁,依叔大业。业为国子左厢,富有金缯而无子,爱子浮若己出。十四岁,为匪人诱去作狭邪游。会有金陵娼,侨寓郡中,生悦而惑之。娼返金陵,生窃从遁去。居娼家半年,床头金尽,大为姊妹行齿冷,然犹未遽绝之。无何,广创溃臭,沾染床席,逐而出。丐于市,市人见辄遥避。自恐死异域,乞食西行。日三四十里,渐至邠界。又念败絮脓秽,无颜入里门,尚趑趄近邑间。

日既暮,欲趋山寺宿。遇一女子,容貌若仙。近问:“何适?”生以实告。女曰:“我出家人,居有山洞,可以下榻,颇不畏虎狼。”生喜,从去。入深山中,见一洞府,入则门横溪水,石梁驾之。又数武,有石室二,光明彻照,无须灯烛。命生解悬鹑,浴于溪流,曰:“濯之,创当愈。”又开幛拂褥促寝,曰:“请即眠,当为郎作袴。”乃取大叶类芭蕉,翦缀作衣,生卧视之。制无几时,折叠床头,曰:“晓取着之。”乃与对榻寝。生浴后,觉创疡无苦。既醒,摸之,则痂厚结矣。诘旦,将兴,心疑蕉叶不可着,取而审视,则绿锦滑绝。少间,具餐,女取山叶呼作饼,食之,果饼,又翦作鸡、鱼,烹之皆如真者。室隅一罂,贮佳酝,辄复取饮,少减,则以溪水灌益之。数日,创痂尽脱,就女求宿。女曰:“轻薄儿!甫能安身,便生妄想!”生云:“聊以报德。”遂同卧处,大相欢爱。

一日,有少妇笑入,曰:“翩翩小鬼头快活死!薛姑子好梦,几时做得?”女迎笑曰:“花城娘子,贵趾久弗涉,今日西南风紧,吹送来也!小哥子抱得未?”曰:“又一小婢子。”女笑曰:“花娘子瓦窑哉!那弗将来?”曰:“方呜之,睡却矣。”于是坐以款饮。又顾生曰:“小郎君焚好香也。”生视之,年廿有三四,绰有馀妍,心好之。剥果误落案下,俯假拾果,阴捻翘凤,花城他顾而笑,若不知者。生方怳然神夺,顿觉袍袴无温,自顾所服,悉成秋叶。几骇绝,危坐移时,渐变如故,窃幸二女之弗见也。少顷,酬酢间,又以指搔纤掌,城坦然笑谑,殊不觉知。突突怔忡间,衣已化叶,移时始复变。由是惭颜息虑,不敢妄想。城笑曰:“而家小郎子,大不端好!若弗是醋葫芦娘子,恐跳迹入云霄去。”女亦哂曰:“薄幸儿,便直得寒冻杀!”相与鼓掌。花城离席曰:“小婢醒,恐啼肠断矣。”女亦起曰:“贪引他家男儿,不忆得小江城啼绝矣。”花城既去,惧贻诮责,女卒晤对如平时。

居无何,秋老风寒,霜零木脱,女乃收落叶,蓄旨御冬。顾生肃缩,乃持襆掇拾洞口白云,为絮复衣,着之,温暖如襦,且轻松常如新绵。逾年,生一子,极惠美,日在洞中弄儿为乐。然每念故里,乞与同归。女曰:“妾不能从,不然,君自去。”因循二三年,儿渐长,遂与花城订为姻好。生每以叔老为念,女曰:“阿叔腊故大高,幸复强健,无劳悬耿。待保儿婚后,去住由君。”女在洞中,辄取叶写书教儿读,儿过目即了。女曰:“此儿福相,放教入尘寰,无忧至台阁。”未几,儿年十四。花城亲诣送女,女华妆至,容光照人。夫妻大悦,举家宴集。翩翩扣钗而歌曰:“我有佳儿,不羡贵官。我有佳妇,不羡绮纨。今夕聚首,皆当喜欢。为君行酒,劝君加餐。”既而花城去,与儿夫妇对室居。新妇孝,依依膝下,宛如所生。生又言归,女曰:“子有俗骨,终非仙品,儿亦富贵中人,可携去,我不误儿生平。”新妇思别其母,花城已至。儿女恋恋,涕各满眶。两母慰之曰:“暂去,可复来。”翩翩乃翦叶为驴,令三人跨之以归。大业已老归林下,意侄已死,忽携佳孙美妇归,喜如获宝。入门,各视所衣,悉蕉叶,破之,絮蒸蒸腾去。乃并易之。后生思翩翩,偕儿往探之,则黄叶满径,洞口云迷,零涕而返。

异史氏曰:翩翩、花城,殆仙者耶?餐叶衣云,何其怪也!然帏幄诽谑,狎寝生雏,亦复何殊于人世?山中十五载,虽无“人民城郭”之异,而云迷洞口,无迹可寻,睹其景况,真刘、阮返棹时矣。

Leave a Comment