Woodcutter Liu Hai
Among the clean and beautiful Liuye Lake stands an island of mystery and romance where birds chirp and blooming flowers give forth fragrance in spring; willow catkins drift in the air on summer days; the maple leaves are as red as the blazing sun in autumn; while in winter, all these prosperous scenes fade away and everything is covered with snow, looking like a quiet girl in silver who waits for the coming of next spring alone. It was on such a beautiful island that a fox spirit had cultivated herself for eight hundred years. Hence a name for this island—the Fox Spirit Island. No matter how picturesque the scenery here is, however, eight hundred years in solitude brought her a bit of weariness and boredom.
Near the Fox Spirit Island lies a heavenly village—Yuqiao Village (Fishing and Woodcutting Village). The village was in a harmonious atmosphere: Couples were affectionate, men plowing and women spinning and weaving; innocent and naive children and happy elders enjoyed a comfortable life. The fox spirit often peeked at those simple but happy villagers at a distance, among whom she found a Liu family with two family members: a blind mother and a son named Liu Hai. Liu Hai was a kind and dutiful man who always went woodcutting and fishing in an effort to make a living and support his mother. One day, Liu came across several girls who did the laundry by the lake. They made fun of him for his singlehood nearly at the age of 30, and teased that he might remain unmarried throughout his life. Instead of being annoyed, Liu just smiled:“Thanks for your attention, I’m hurrying back home to cook for my mom. Please excuse me for my leaving first.” The words fell and he walked away among their laughter. This scene was caught by the fox spirit who felt pity for him. She couldn’t help wondering why such a good man had no wife and why the matchmaker Moon Lord didn’t give him a virtuous wife.
From then on, the fox spirit decided to help Liu Hai to go woodcutting and fishing. Thus she metamorphosed into a woman named Hu Xiuying and came to help him. Liu was too straightforward to doubt the beautiful woman, accepting her assistance. From day to day, they fell in love with each other. The fox spirit was so eager to marry Liu Hai that she expressed boldly her deep love for him and disclosed her real identity. Shocked by her words, Liu refused her firmly, which broke Hu’s heart. In fact, Liu Hai turned down her out of two reasons: on the one hand, such a beautiful girl would experience numerous obstacles and difficulties for his poverty after their marriage; on the other hand, she might get hurt if someone knew her real identity. He rejected her merely out of the thought of protecting her. The fox spirit was deeply touched as she knew Liu’s thoughts and became more determined to marry him and dedicated to loving such a kind man. Liu Hai was so moved and then accepted her love. The lovers tied the knot and got married in the end.
After their marriage, the fox spirit applied her spells to heal the blind mother. Meanwhile she helped frequently villagers. Naturally, such a pretty and kind woman was popular in the village. Nevertheless, happy days didn’t last long because their marriage was discovered finally by the Heaven, from which the immortals came to vanquish her. Although surprised at this truth, all the villagers were voluntary to intercede with the immortals for Hu. Liu Hai even had a confrontation with the immortals in an attempt to protect his beloved wife. Given that all the villagers defended her and the fox spirit herself indeed did lots of good things for the villagers, the Heaven decided to give her a light sentence. At this moment, the fox spirit said on her own that she would give up hundreds of years of cultivation to be an ordinary woman and do good deeds everyday only for staying together with her lover. The Heaven did nothing but agree with her request and take back her spells and cultivation at last. How did the story end? Hu, the ordinary woman now, stayed together with Liu Hai all her life and had a son with him. They lived a simple, cozy and idyllic life finally. The beautiful story, like the clean water in the Liuye Lake, was handed down through generations without any changes.
Nowadays it is said that there are two wonders in the Liuye Lake: one is the permanent limpidity of its water; the other is the touching love story unchanged through thousands of years.
Please refer to eng.changde.gov.cn when using the article.
Adapted by Li Haijun