Kaxiong

Yang Kaxiong(楊喀雄)’s father served as a military officer but passed away early. His paternal uncle, Zhou, held the position of deputy general, stationed in Hezhou(河州). Feeling sympathetic for the young and orphaned Yang Kaxiong, he took him in and raised him. Zhou had a daughter who took a liking to the young and clever Kaxiong. She often gave him food. Despite their closeness, there was no impropriety between Zhou’s daughter and Kaxiong.

There was a young man named Wuzi(務子), a relative of Zhou, who lived as a guest in their study. One summer night, unable to bear the heat, Kaxiong took a stroll under the moonlight and saw Zhou’s daughter arriving. They engaged in intimacy. The next morning, when Kaxiong went to greet his uncle, he saw Zhou’s daughter dressing up. He smiled at her, and she warmly welcomed him. From then on, Zhou’s daughter and Kaxiong met every day under the moonlight.

Once, Wuzi heard laughter from Kaxiong’s room and grew suspicious. He went to investigate and found Kaxiong and Zhou’s daughter embracing intimately. Consumed by jealousy, he secretly reported this to Deputy General Zhou. Angered, Zhou scolded his wife for not disciplining their daughter properly. However, despite his wife’s defense, Zhou, still suspicious, used another pretext to beat Kaxiong and expel him from their home.

Left without support, Kaxiong settled in an ancient temple in Lanzhou. One day, Zhou’s daughter suddenly appeared, bringing along valuable jewels and ornaments. Overjoyed and surprised, Kaxiong asked her how she came to Lanzhou. She replied, “I came with my uncle.” Zhou’s younger brother, Zhou Yi, also a military officer, had just been appointed as the commander of the defense in Lanzhou. Believing Zhou’s daughter’s words, Kaxiong cohabited with her for half a month, feeling as though he had become wealthy.

After Zhou Yi arrived, he encountered Kaxiong on the road and happily asked, “Nephew, do you also live in Lanzhou?” Kaxiong replied, “Yes.” Zhou Yi rode to Kaxiong’s new residence, requesting to meet his niece-in-law. To his surprise, he found that she was none other than his elder brother Deputy General Zhou’s daughter. Shocked, Zhou Yi asked Kaxiong to explain. Kaxiong narrated the whole story to Zhou Yi, who, a few days later, made an excuse and hurried to Hezhou, informing Deputy General Zhou about what he had seen in Lanzhou regarding Kaxiong and his niece.

Deputy General Zhou was shocked, claiming that his daughter had been at home, having dinner with him moments ago. He suspected it might have been a fox spirit impersonating his daughter. His wife suggested rather than letting a fox impersonate their daughter and tarnish her reputation, they might as well let their daughter marry Kaxiong to see how the fox spirit would react.

Both Zhou brothers agreed with their wife’s suggestion and immediately summoned Kaxiong back to Hezhou for him to marry Zhou’s daughter. On the night of their wedding, the imposter posing as Zhou’s daughter was already waiting in the bridal chamber. Caught off guard, Kaxiong didn’t know what to do. The imposter confessed to Kaxiong, saying, “Why panic? I’m a fox spirit. I came to repay your grandfather’s kindness. When your grandfather was a general, he hunted at Tumen Pass and shot me with an arrow. He removed the arrow and let me go. I wanted to repay his kindness several times but didn’t know how. When I learned you fell in love with Deputy General Zhou’s daughter and couldn’t fulfill your wish, I came specifically to act as a matchmaker for you. This was also destined between you and Zhou’s daughter. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to intervene. Now, the matchmaking is done, and I’m ready to leave.” In an instant, the fox spirit disappeared.

Translated from 《喀雄》 in 《子不語》:

喀雄者,姓楊,父作守備,早亡。表叔周某,作副將,鎮河州,憐其孤,撫養之。周有女,年相若,見雄少年聰秀,頗愛之,時與飲食。周家法甚嚴,卒無他事。
有務子者,亦周戚也,直宿書齋。夏月,雄苦熱,徘徊月下,見周女冉冉而至,遂與成歡。次日入內,見女曉妝,雄目之而笑,女亦笑迎之。自後無日不至。務子聞其房中笑語,疑而窺之,見雄與周女相狎,而心大妒,密白周公。周入宅讓其夫人,夫人曰:「女兒夜夜與我同牀,焉有此事?」周終以為疑,借他事杖雄而遣之。雄無所依,棲身蘭州古寺中。
一日者,女忽至,帶來輜重甚富。雄驚且喜,問:「從何來?」曰:「與我叔父同來。」蓋周公之弟名鋙者,亦武官也,方升蘭州守備。雄深信不疑,與女居半月,揚揚如富人。叔到任後,遇諸途,喜曰:「姪在此乎?」曰:「然。」叔策馬登其堂,姪婦出拜,乃周女也,大驚問故,雄具言之。鋙曰:「予來時,不聞署中失女事,豈吾兄諱之耶?」居數日,借公事回河州,備述其事。周大駭,曰:「吾女宛然在室,頃且同飯,哪有此事?或者其狐仙所冒托耶!」夫人曰:「與其使狐狸冒托我女之名,玷我閨門,不如竟以真女妻之,看渠如何?」周兄弟二人大以為然,即招雄歸成親。
合巹之夕,西寧之女先已在房,雄茫然不知所措。女笑而謂之曰:「何事慞惶?兒狐也,實為報德而來。令祖作將軍時,嘗獵于土門關。兒貫矢被擒,令祖拔矢縱之。屢欲報恩,無從下手。近知郎愛周女而不得,故來作冰人,以償汝願。亦因子與周女有夙緣,不然,兒亦不能為力也。今媒已成,兒去矣。」倏然不見。

🎨 《秋景貨郎圖軸》佚名 明

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