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Phrase & Stories
The Graves of Three Kings

The Graves of Three Kings


Gangjiang and Moye, who were husband and wife and lived in the state of Chu, were obliged to forge swords for the king. Three years had passed before they could finally produce them. Annoyed, the king intended to kill Ganjiang. The couple made two swords, one male, the other female. Just then Moye, the wife, was about to give birth to a child. The husband said to her,"Since it has taken me three long years to make the swords, the king must be angry. It is certain that he will put me to death when I go and present the swords to him. If the child turns out to be a boy, tell him this as soon as he is grown up, `Go out of the house, look at the southern mountains and search for the place where a pine tree is growing on a rock. Try to find one of the swords on its back."" After he had said this, Ganjiang left for the palace with the female sword. The king became furious when he saw only one sword, and ordered it to be examined. When he was told that there were actually two swords, one male and the other female, and that the one he saw was female, while the male one was not there, the king flew into a rage and had Ganjiang beheaded at once.


Moye named her son Chibi. When he grew up, he asked her, "Where is my father?" "Your father once had to forget two swords for the king," Moye replied, "and it took him three years to finish them. The king killed him in a fury. Before he left home, your father asked me to give you this message, "Go out of the house, look at the southern moun tains and search for the place where a pine tree is growing on a rock. Try to find one of the swords on its back."" So the boy ran out of the house and looked south, but he saw no mountain at all. Then his eyes fell on a stone plinth in front of the house, with a pine pillar on its top. Chibi hurried to cleave the pillar from behind. Sure enough, there was the male sword. From that time on, Chibi planned day and night to avenge his father.

The king had a dream one night, in which he saw a boy, whose eyebrows were one foot apart from each other, swearing to take vengeance for his father"s death. The king offered a reward of one-thousand taels of gold for the capture of the young lad. Chibi heard the news and had to take to the mountains. On his way he went singing sad songs, when a stranger came up and asked, "Why are you so sad, young man?" "I am the son of Ganjiang and Moye," replied the boy. "Because the king killed my father, I"m determined to take revenge." At this, the stranger said, "People say that the king has set a price of one-thousand taels of gold on your head. If you could give me your head and the sword, I would take revenge for you." "Good!" said the boy. He cut off his own head and handed it, together with the sword, to the stranger. But his body stood where it was until the man vowed, "I will not let you down!"

The king was pleased when he saw the boy"s head. "Since this is a brave man"s head," said the man, "it should be boiled in a cauldron to prevent further trouble." This the king did. Three days and three nights went by, but the head remained intact. And it was bobbing on the water, the eyes burning with anger. "The head will not decompose," the stranger said to the king, "would you just come over and take a close look. Then it will surely go." The king came. As soon as he bent forward, the stranger swung his sword and chopped off the king"s head, which dropped into the cauldron. This done, the man killed himself, his head also falling into the broth. In no time, the three heads became mashed and were no longer recognizable. Later, the broth, with what was left of the heads, was divided into three parts and buried in three graves, which came to be called "the Graves of Three Kings." Today they can still be found in Yichun County north of Runan.

 

 
   
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