Before Wu Song left Fei Yun Pu, Shi En only sent him a roasted goose. Why did it still move him so deeply?

The Depth of Shi En’s Loyalty

Shi En did much more than just send Wu Song a roast goose.

Initially, Shi En intended to use Wu Song to reclaim the Happy Forest Inn by defeating Jiang Men Shen. However, after living together for a month, their relationship deepened, and Shi En revered Wu Song as if he were his own parents, despite Shi En being a minor official and Wu Song a mere convict.

When Zhang, the supervisor, wanted to take Wu Song away, Shi En did not stop him but allowed Wu Song to decide for himself. Fearing Zhang’s intentions, Shi En sent people to check on Wu Song frequently.

As suspected, Zhang had nefarious intentions and framed Wu Song as a thief on Mid-Autumn night, bribing officials to put Wu Song into death row, shackling his feet and nailing his hands, intending to torture him to death in prison.

Shi En, keeping a close eye, acted immediately upon learning of Wu Song’s plight, spending significant amounts of money and effort to rescue him. His father, also an official, reminded him of his duty to save Wu Song, who was in trouble because of him.

From a purely profit-driven perspective, Wu Song’s actions had brought the Happy Forest Inn back under Shi En’s control, which generated a significant monthly income. Yet, the money Shi En spent on bribing and rescuing Wu Song far exceeded the earnings, indicating that their relationship had transcended mere financial benefit.

After frequent visits and elaborate arrangements, Shi En prevented Wu Song from being further harmed in prison. Despite heavy bribes and Zhang’s attempts to stop him, Shi En continued to ensure Wu Song’s safety, showing a profound sense of loyalty and brotherhood.

When Wu Song was finally sentenced, it was due to Shi En’s relentless efforts that he received a lighter punishment. Even when Wu Song was beaten as a part of his sentence, Shi En ensured through bribes that the beating was as lenient as possible.

In the end, Shi En, despite losing the Happy Forest Inn again and being severely beaten himself, continued to care for Wu Song’s well-being, far beyond any self-interest. On the day of Wu Song’s exile, Shi En, injured and bandaged, went to see him off, a testament to their deep brotherhood.

Moreover, Shi En gave Wu Song wine to bolster his strength and a package with necessities for the journey, along with a warning about potential dangers ahead. This care package was designed to help Wu Song survive and evade his attackers, a further indication of Shi En’s deep concern and strategic thinking.

In summary, Shi En’s actions demonstrate an extraordinary level of dedication, sacrifice, and brotherhood, going well beyond any expected norms or personal gain.

Shi En’s Brotherhood Beyond Duty

Shi En never treated Wu Song merely as a hired hand or expendable asset; he truly regarded him as a brother. According to the ruthless rules of the underworld, by that time, Wu Song was considered as good as dead, beyond the help of even Buddha himself. Shi En was fully aware of this grim reality, yet he chose to stand by Wu Song, which meant going directly against the powerful and risking severe consequences from his own faction within the establishment.

The most important aspect is that Shi En wasn’t there just to bid farewell; he was there to prepare Wu Song for one final fight:

  1. He warned Wu Song that his life was in danger and that his only chance of survival was to fight back.
  2. He provided Wu Song with nourishment through cooked goose to replenish his strength.
  3. He arranged for Wu Song’s post-escape necessities - a set of clothes to replace the blood-stained ones from the battle, shoes for the long journey ahead, and scattered silver for easy and inconspicuous spending. These meticulously considered details demonstrate not just Shi En’s extensive knowledge of the ways of the underworld but also his heartfelt and detailed planning, akin to a father’s care for his son.

This level of dedication and warmth is rare in Wu Song’s life, making it all the more precious.

A Thoughtful Provision

Shi En was not just giving a roast goose; he meticulously arranged everything for Wu Song’s journey.

He tied a package around Wu Song’s waist and hung two cooked geese on Wu Song’s cangue. Whispering to him, Shi En said: “Inside the package are two cotton-padded clothes, a handkerchief with scattered silver coins for expenses on the road, and also two pairs of hemp shoes. But be careful on the road, those two are up to no good!”

Providing delicious food, new clothes, new shoes, and conveniently converted money for the journey, he also reminded him to be cautious. This is as thorough as a mother preparing her child for college.

To ensure that Wu Song could walk out of prison alive and still enjoy roast goose, Shi En spent enough money to buy ten thousand roast geese.

After being beaten like that, Shien still managed to help Wu Song up, sending him silver, shoes, and roasted goose. He even reminded Wu Song to be cautious of someone plotting against him. Guan Er Ye would have to admit that this brother knows how to handle situations.

A Helping Hand in Dire Straits

Well, Shien sent two roasted geese, a pair of shoes, some clothing, and a handful of scattered silver to Wu Song, while also warning him that the official was up to no good. The most crucial part was that, to let Wu Song enjoy the roasted goose, the official released Wu Song’s left hand. It’s like playing a game, getting killed in a PK, respawning at the spawn point with no equipment, critically low health, and still in a weakened state (hands in shackles). At this moment, another player approaches, gives you a full set of gear, two health potions, some gold coins, and applies a buff that counters 50% of your weakness. They then inform you that the player who PK’d you is gathering reinforcements to camp your respawn point, but they won’t come to assist due to their low level. Be cautious on your own. Hasn’t this guy gone above and beyond in his goodwill?

Shien’s Generous Offerings

Shien’s offerings included:

  1. Two boiled geese (not roasted): Used for healing.

    “Two cooked geese, not roasted, are here. Brother, eat two pieces.”

  2. Two bowls of wine: Ordered on the spot for Wu Song to drink, used for mana recovery.

    “Shien ordered two bowls of wine and asked Wu Song to drink.”

  3. Attempted bribery of the escort personnel.

    “Shien invited two constables to join him at the tavern, but they were reluctant to enter. They said, ‘This Wu Song is a notorious bandit. If we partake in your food and drink, we will surely face trouble with the officials tomorrow. If you fear trouble, leave quickly!’ Seeing that words were not effective, Shien took out around ten taels of silver and offered it to the two constables. However, they refused to accept it and urged Wu Song to move on, vexed and impatient.”

  4. Intelligence: Information about the ill intentions of the two escort personnel, warning Wu Song to be cautious.

  5. A bundle of silver coins, two pairs of shoes, two thick garments: This was essentially an escape package for changing clothes after committing murder. When Wu Song returned to the city and wiped out the Zhang family, he did make use of these.

    “In the dim candlelight, Wu Song took out the cotton clothes Shien had sent, undressed himself, and put on the two new garments. As he walked across the city moat, he remembered the pair of straw sandals that Shien had included in the package and put them on.”

A Generous Gesture Amidst Adversity

At that time, Shien was already battered, leaning on crutches and bandages, yet he managed to deliver geese to Wu Song.

On the other hand, looking at the Monkey King next door, he’s agile and lively, but hasn’t seen him send a single peach to Sun Wukong in 500 years.

Both are adventurers, why such a stark contrast in treatment?

Getting serious for a moment, Wu Song was initially Shien’s enforcer. Despite their seemingly polite interactions, Wu Song was essentially a pawn. Even in his troubled times, he struggled to deliver geese and prepared everything needed for the journey. Shien truly regarded him as a brother.

Moreover, at that time, Shien had his own troubles to deal with, and Wu Song was the one marked for elimination from above. Escaping to save his life would have been the normal course of action, but he chose to send gifts. The cost of arranging all this behind the scenes was not something as simple as the cost of a meal. There was even a risk that Zhang Dujian might try to silence him.

Furthermore, Shien not only sent geese, clothing, and shoes but also provided valuable intelligence. Don’t be fooled by the description of the Feiyun Ferry as it might seem easy. If it weren’t for Wu Song being well-prepared and striking first while still having the strength, when you’re exhausted, hungry, and weak, and the opponent catches you off guard, Wu Song’s fate would have been worse than Lin Chong and Lu Junyi. So, Shien practically gave him another chance at life. No wonder Wu Song cried bitterly when Shien died in the end.

A Thoughtful Gesture Amidst Peril

In the original text, it mentions two boiled geese, two bowls of wine, a bundle of silver coins, along with clothing and shoes. Shien even contemplated bribing the escort personnel, although they declined.

Firstly, this alone was already commendable. The escort personnel only allowed Shien to meet Wu Song once. Yet, Shien went the extra mile by bringing the Happy Grove’s chef with him. How much could he and his servant Shou’er carry? Even if they brought a whole cart of items, how much could Wu Song take with him?

Secondly, it’s common knowledge that Wu Song’s fate was intertwined with helping Shien reclaim the Happy Grove. Now that Wu Song had been captured, the next unfortunate soul would likely be Shien. In this situation, Shien daringly appearing to send off Wu Song, even without taking anything, would be enough to move Wu Song. This brotherhood wasn’t in vain, and this favor wasn’t given without reason!

Thirdly, Shien wasn’t just delivering boiled geese; he wanted to inform Wu Song that Jiang Menshen and the others were planning an ambush on the way. The geese and wine were for Wu Song’s stamina, the silver coins and clothing and shoes were for Wu Song’s escape. However, Shien didn’t anticipate that Wu Song was exceedingly ruthless. Wu Song did flee, but he headed back!

The Remarkable Loyalty of Shien

As one continues to live, people like Shien become increasingly rare.

Just a few days ago, a pair of elderly neighbors from upstairs in my colleague’s building asked him to spearhead an elevator renovation project, using various persuasive tactics, even appealing to his sense of morality. The reason was that they didn’t want to offend their downstairs neighbors and former colleagues, so they wanted him to shoulder the blame (he lives on the 5th floor in a second-hand unit he bought, while the elderly couple lives on the 7th floor).

Shien’s father is a prison warden, which essentially means he is the director of a detention center. Barring any unexpected events, he will succeed his father. Although the position isn’t extremely high, it’s not insignificant either. Zhang Dujian, the prison warden, is equivalent to the local military commander, and the prison falls under the jurisdiction of the military, making them his family’s direct superiors.

Most acquaintanceships often begin due to shared interests, even when Wu Song was summoned by the prison warden, it could be seen as securing a powerful connection for the future.

However, when Wu Song was imprisoned once again, not only did he lose all his utility, but it was also apparent that saving him would put Shien in conflict with his immediate superior, endangering his own position within the system.

Shien went to great lengths, considering every possible angle to help Wu Song. These preparations, while essential, were secondary. The crucial point was that Shien’s loyalty was reciprocated.

In a severely battered state and with limited capabilities, Shien was willing to jeopardize his future prospects just to send a possibly doomed friend a roasted goose.

What he sent wasn’t just a roasted goose; it was friendship.

Many instances of such loyalty are described in Water Margin:

  • Lu Zhishen lost his official position for Jin Cuilian, even though he didn’t originally intend to kill Zheng Tuo. He escorted Lin Chong the entire way because he figured he had nothing to lose, given his status as an outlaw.

  • Yan Qing rescued his master due to their strong bond.

  • Song Jiang released Lei Heng because the risk of being discovered was relatively low.

  • Shi Xiu killed the monk to clear his own name.

  • Zhang Qing and his wife saved Wu Song because they were already running an illegal business, and Li Kui rescued the law court because, in a way, those without shoes aren’t afraid of those with shoes.

In Water Margin, many people aspire to a brighter future, but only Shien, despite initially appearing to exploit Wu Song, later unhesitatingly put himself on the line, and his actions were carefully calculated. He did everything within his capabilities, all for a friendship that had only been forged in the past six months, earning him an extra month’s worth of income.

Shien’s Remarkable Support

Shien had already done an outstanding job.

What was Wu Song’s condition when Shien visited him?

[His head was wrapped, his arms were bandaged.]

Wu Song had been battered by Jiang Menshen, with his head wrapped in gauze and his arms suspended. He had been lying in bed for over a month. It was said that Wu Song had been sentenced to exile, but he still mustered the strength to come and see him.

Furthermore, it wasn’t just a roasted goose!

[Inside the package, there were two cotton garments, a bundle of scattered silver coins for travel expenses, and two pairs of straw sandals. Just be cautious on the road; these two constables aren’t well-intentioned!]

Wasn’t clothing and travel expenses prepared as well? Shien even reminded Wu Song to watch out for these two constables.

As for why Shien didn’t escort Wu Song all the way like Lu Zhishen did for Lin Chong, Shien did want to! Leaving aside their combat capabilities, the key issue was that Wu Song had been beaten half to death, and he couldn’t keep up with Wu Song on the road. How could he escort him?

This is beyond doubt. After all, from the moment Wu Song entered the prison, Shien had tried every means, and he had spent a significant amount of money to arrange everything.

Now, some might wonder why Shien only gave Wu Song a few taels of silver after spending so much money upfront.

This is a matter of the martial world, and it’s also for Wu Song’s benefit. Silver has weight, and in the past, bandits on the road would estimate how much silver someone carried by the amount of dust they kicked up while walking. If they saw a prisoner like Wu Song with shackles and carrying so much silver, it would be a death sentence. The two constables wouldn’t even need to deal with him; the highwaymen on the road would have taken Wu Song’s life.

In those chaotic times, it was an unwritten rule. Whether it was Song Jiang, Lin Chong, or anyone else who was sentenced to exile, they would carry a bit of silver for expenses on the way. Once they arrived at their destination, arrangements would be made.

What has been discussed so far is what’s apparent, but there are also hidden implications. Who sent Wu Song to prison in the first place? It was Zhang Dujian, and who is Zhang Dujian? He’s Shien’s father’s superior.

In that dark age, being able to send someone the person in charge wants to deal with right in front of your superior was exceptionally rare. In that era, if you weren’t loyal, you wouldn’t care about whether Wu Song lived or died. Ask yourselves, could you help a friend in dire straits like this?

Whether you say it or not, we won’t comment on the other moral standards in Water Margin, but the camaraderie among the brothers is quite impressive. The portrayal of the camaraderie between heroes who respect and cherish each other is spot on.

As long as you’re a hero, everyone is wholeheartedly there for you.

Have you heard of this saying?

Inside a pack of cigarettes, each one is individually drawn from a single cigarette, and you will never have two cigarettes from the same cigarette.

Can you guess how many “roast geese” Shien had to buy to get this roast goose?

Building a Relationship on Mutual Benefit

Beforehand, Shien made it clear that he was using Wusong.

Whether it was the preferential treatment upon their first meeting, sparing him from a severe beating, or the lavish food and drink offerings, Shien’s purpose was to buy himself a strong ally.

However, what worked in Shien’s favor was his transparency and the fact that he openly showed kindness to others. Wusong understood his intentions, and their mutual use of each other became a willing partnership.

At this point, their relationship was purely based on self-interest.

Shien’s actions were not devious, making them acceptable.

When Shien came to bid farewell to Wusong, he revealed his true intentions, indicating that he saw Wusong as a brother.

First, Shien was proactive in rescuing Wusong rather than showing indifference. Technically, Wusong, who had become a prisoner, had lost his utility value. He had been transferred and framed by the more powerful Zhang Du Monitor.

Second, Shien tried his best to provide assistance. On the surface, Shien only brought two roast geese (corrected, thanks for the correction), some silver, and clothing. However, when considering the overall context, Shien did not abandon Wusong. Even though he was badly beaten and had difficulty walking, which deterred many from offering help, Shien persisted in bidding him farewell.

Moreover, Shien knew that this “emotional investment” might yield no return, as Wusong faced a grim fate.

Hence, similar to a beggar receiving a hundred yuan from a wealthy man, Shien’s help was essentially going above and beyond.

For most ordinary people, reaching Shien’s level of generosity and having a friend like Shien is extremely rare.

The Disparity Between Lin Chong and Song Jiang

Upon comparison, it becomes clear that Lin Chong and Song Jiang are incomparable.

Lin Chong would have been in serious trouble on his journey if it weren’t for Wu Song.

In terms of martial prowess, let’s not even discuss who is stronger between Lin Chong and Wu Song; at the very least, there is no significant difference in their skill levels.

Why couldn’t Lin Chong take matters into his own hands and exact revenge?

Whether in literature or television dramas, we all know that Lin Chong had been severely tormented on his journey, rendering his martial skills ineffective.

Without enough food to eat, how can one win a battle?

Shien not only provided food but also clothing, shoes, and money.

Moreover, he offered public funds, which the other party refused, serving as a wake-up call for Wu Song.

This ensured that Wu Song could face the challenge at Fei Yun Pu in peak condition.

If Lin Chong had access to a similar feast, new clothes, new shoes, enough money, and maintained vigilance throughout his journey, he would have had a reasonable chance of survival on his own.

While Lu Zhishen personally delivering assistance was touching, Shien was not a skilled fighter, and he was also injured, making him a burden as an escort.

Do not underestimate the importance of those who provide logistical support. Without auxiliary assistance to maintain your peak condition, how can you expect to take on four opponents at Fei Yun Pu?

This gesture of gifting just one apple, however, touched hearts even more deeply.

Don’t talk about Liangshan with an average person carrying evildoers.

Don’t talk about a big coward with extremely low moral standards.

Right now.

A civil servant is under investigation and about to be taken in.

Can a civil servant friend (whose friend’s father is the superior in charge of investigating this case) withstand the pressure and treat you to a meal?

How many can do it?

Not many, have you ever seen anyone who can?

Whoever sends me two cooked geese Is my true brother.

Being able to attend and take a group photo with former colleagues before parting ways is already quite meaningful.

After all, most people are too afraid to even attend gatherings organized by former coworkers, let alone taking photos and sharing them on social media.