The Wallet of Kai Lung HTML version

The Vision Of Yin, The Son Of Yat Huang
When Yin, the son of Yat Huang, had passed beyond the years assigned to the pursuit of
boyhood, he was placed in the care of the hunchback Quang, so that he might be fully
instructed in the management of the various weapons used in warfare, and also in the art
of stratagem, by which a skilful leader is often enabled to conquer when opposed to an
otherwise overwhelming multitude. In all these accomplishments Quang excelled to an
exceptional degree; for although unprepossessing in appearance he united matchless
strength to an untiring subtlety. No other person in the entire Province of Kiang-si could
hurl a javelin so unerringly while uttering sounds of terrifying menace, or could cause his
sword to revolve around him so rapidly, while his face looked out from the glittering
circles with an expression of ill-intentioned malignity that never failed to inspire his
adversary with irrepressible emotions of alarm. No other person could so successfully
feign to be devoid of life for almost any length of time, or by his manner of behaving
create the fixed impression that he was one of insufficient understanding, and therefore
harmless. It was for these reasons that Quang was chosen as the instructor of Yin by Yat
Huang, who, without possessing any official degree, was a person to whom marks of
obeisance were paid not only within his own town, but for a distance of many li around it.
At length the time arrived when Yin would in the ordinary course of events pass from the
instructorship of Quang in order to devote himself to the commerce in which his father
was engaged, and from time to time the unavoidable thought arose persistently within his
mind that although Yat Huang doubtless knew better than he did what the circumstances
of the future required, yet his manner of life for the past years was not such that he could
contemplate engaging in the occupation of buying and selling porcelain clay with feelings
of an overwhelming interest. Quang, however, maintained with every manifestation of
inspired assurance that Yat Huang was to be commended down to the smallest detail,
inasmuch as proficiency in the use of both blunt and sharp-edged weapons, and a faculty
for passing undetected through the midst of an encamped body of foemen, fitted a person
for the every-day affairs of life above all other accomplish-ments.
"Without doubt the very accomplished Yat Huan is well advised on this point," continued
Quang, "for even this mentally short-sighted person can call up within his understanding
numerous specific incidents in the ordinary career of one engaged in the commerce of
porcelain clay when such attainments would be of great remunerative benefit. Does the
well-endowed Yin think, for example, that even the most depraved person would
endeavour to gain an advantage over him in the matter of buying or selling porcelain clay
if he fully understood the fact that the one with whom he was trafficking could
unhesitatingly transfix four persons with one arrow at the distance of a hundred paces? Or
to what advantage would it be that a body of unscrupulous outcasts who owned a field of
inferior clay should surround it with drawn swords by day and night, endeavouring
meanwhile to dispose of it as material of the finest quality, if the one whom they
endeavoured to ensnare in this manner possessed the power of being able to pass through
their ranks unseen and examine the clay at his leisure?"