Preservation: A daring midnight adventure in pursuit of a cherished pipa

Read about Baozhu's daring mission to retrieve a cherished pipa in a thrilling midnight escapade.

When Prince of Pingxi, Wu Sangui, was not in rebellion, he once instructed his soldiers: “Anyone who can catch a tiger on their own will be rewarded with an official position and salary, and will be given the title of ‘Tiger Hunter General’.” Among the Tiger Hunter Generals, there was a man named Baozhu, who was as agile as a monkey. In the royal palace, they were constructing tall buildings, and they had just erected large beams and wooden joists. Baozhu climbed up along the corner of the building and quickly reached the top. He stood on the ridge beam of the roof, walked briskly back and forth three or four times, and then leaped down, landing firmly on the ground.

The Prince of Pingxi had a beloved concubine who was skilled at playing the pipa. The pipa she played had strings made of warm jade, and when she held it in her arms, the room was filled with warmth. She treasured the pipa dearly and would not show it to anyone without the Prince of Pingxi’s command.

One evening, during a banquet and gathering, guests requested to admire the pipa’s exquisite craftsmanship. At that moment, the Prince of Pingxi felt lazy and agreed to show it to them the next day. However, Baozhu, who was standing nearby, said, “There’s no need for His Highness’s command; I can fetch the pipa.” The Prince of Pingxi quickly instructed his people to inform both inside and outside the palace and take precautions. Then, he allowed Baozhu to depart.

Baozhu crossed over more than a dozen courtyard walls to reach the courtyard where Wu Sangui’s beloved concubine was located. Inside the house, the lights were on, but the door was tightly locked, making it impossible to enter. There was a parrot perched on a shelf in the corridor. Baozhu started imitating a cat’s meow, followed by mimicking the parrot’s call, loudly shouting, “The cat is here!” and making urgent flapping sounds. He heard the beloved concubine saying, “Lünu, go and check, the parrot has been attacked!” Baozhu then hid in the darkness.

After a while, a woman carrying a lamp walked out of the door. As soon as she left the door, Baozhu had already squeezed in. He saw the pipa placed on the table and simply picked it up before hurrying out. The beloved concubine exclaimed, “A thief is here!” The guards immediately sprang into action, but they couldn’t catch up with Baozhu, who was holding the pipa, as arrows rained down. Baozhu leaped into the air and landed on a tall tree.

Below the wall, there were originally more than thirty large locust trees. Baozhu moved through the treetops, resembling a flying bird jumping from one branch to another. After traversing the trees, he leaped onto the roof. Running across the rooftops, he dashed between the buildings like he had wings, disappearing in the blink of an eye. The guests were still drinking, and Baozhu, holding the pipa, landed in front of the dining table. The door remained closed, and there was complete silence in the surroundings.





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