Shi En

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Shi En
Water Margin character
First appearanceChapter 28
Nickname"Golden Eyed Tiger Cub"
金眼彪
Rank85th, Concealment Star (地伏星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Infantry leader of Liangshan
OriginPrison warden
Ancestral home / Place of originMengzhou, Henan
Names
Simplified Chinese施恩
Traditional Chinese施恩
PinyinShī Ēn
Wade–GilesShih En

Shi En is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. Nicknamed "Golden Eyed Tiger Cub", he ranks 85th among the 108 Stars of Destiny and 49th among the 72 Earthly Fiends.

Background[edit]

The novel describes Shi En as a six chi tall, handsome man with a fair complexion and a beard, his father is the superintendent of a prison camp in Mengzhou which houses convicts sentenced to exile.

Meeting Wu Song[edit]

Wu Song is exiled to Mengzhou after avenging his murdered brother Wu Dalang. According to custom, every new convict who arrives at the prison is subject to corporal punishment in the form of 100 strokes of the staff. Although the punishment was designed to humble the prisoner and remind him to follow the prison rules, in practice it has become a means of soliciting bribes from prisoners. In other words, any prisoner who bribes the prison officers will be spared the beating; when Wu Song shows up, Shi En, who has heard of Wu Song's reputation, manages to convince his father to spare Wu Song on the excuse that Wu Song appears to be sick.

Shi En arranges for Wu Song to live in a clean cell and showers him with many privileges. Surprised that he is being well-treated, Wu Song requests to meet Shi En and asks him what he has done to deserve such favours. Shi En tells Wu Song that he used to run a restaurant at the "Forest of Delight" (快活林) to collect protection fees from businesses in the area and tolls from travellers. One day, a hooligan Jiang Zhong, nicknamed "Jiang the Door God", showed up, beat him up and seized the restaurant by force. Wu Song decides to repay Shi En's kindness by helping him take back the restaurant.

Wu Song repeatedly provokes Jiang Zhong, defeats him in a fight, and orders him to apologise to Shi En and leave Mengzhou for good. Feeling resentful and humiliated, Jiang Zhong plots revenge against Wu Song and collaborates with two local officials, Instructor Zhang and Inspector Zhang, to frame Wu Song for theft and try to get him killed in prison. However, Shi En saves Wu Song's life again by bribing the prison officers to take good care of Wu Song. In the meantime, Jiang Zhong goes back to the restaurant, beats up Shi En and takes over the restaurant again.

Becoming an outlaw[edit]

Wu Song gets sentenced to exile again in another prison camp. Jiang Zhong bribes the guards escorting him there to murder him along the way. However, Shi En secretly warns Wu Song of the impending danger. Wu Song overpowers the guards and kills them along with two other assassins just as they are about to murder him, he returns to Mengzhou and kills Jiang Zhong, Instructor Zhang, and Inspector Zhang and his family. After fleeing Mengzhou, Wu Song eventually settles down in an outlaw stronghold at Mount Twin Dragons (二龍山). Shi En also leaves Mengzhou and joins the outlaws at Mount Twin Dragons.

Shi En and the outlaws from Mount Twin Dragons later join the larger outlaw band at Liangshan Marsh after the battle between the Liangshan outlaws and government forces in Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong).

Campaigns and death[edit]

Shi En becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan infantry after the 108 Stars of Destiny come together in what is called the Grand Assembly, he follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces on Song territory after they received amnesty from Emperor Huizong.

During the campaign against Fang La's rebel forces, Shi En accompanies the Ruan brothers on a naval assault on one of Fang La's positions at Kunshan, he falls into the river by accident and eventually drowns because he cannot swim.

References[edit]

  • Buck, Pearl S. (2006). All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell. ISBN 9781559213035.
  • Ichisada, Miyazaki (1993). Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu (in Japanese). Chuo Koronsha. ISBN 978-4122020559.
  • Keffer, David. "Outlaws of the Marsh: A Somewhat Less Than Critical Commentary". Poison Pie Publishing House. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  • Li, Mengxia (1992). 108 Heroes from the Water Margin (in Chinese). EPB Publishers. p. 171. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
  • Miyamoto, Yoko (2011). "Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits". Demystifying Confucianism. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  • Shibusawa, Kou (1989), Bandit Kings of Ancient China, Koei
  • Zhang, Lin Ching (2009). Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House. ISBN 978-7506344784.