Firstly, I haven’t forgotten that I’m supposed to be posting a new snippet for Live and Let Live. However, I figured it would be weird if I did not continue with the lore of Gan Jiang and Mo Xie that I posted up at the start of this week. So the Live and Let Live snippet would be moved to next Monday and I will continue with the Chinese lore. Here goes:
Gan Jiang and Mo Xie are inseparable, whether as swords or individuals. The pair of swords are separately named for their crafters- Gan Jiang, the male sword, is named after the husband. Similarly, Mo Xie, the female sword, takes the same name as the wife. It was said that the smith Gan Jiang was very diligent while Mo Xie was a tender loving wife. Whenever Gan Jiang was working at the forge, his wife Mo Xie would be fanning him and swiping sweat for him.
When Gan Jiang was commissioned to craft a sword for the Lord of Chu, three months had gone past but the “essence of steel” used for the crafting wouldn’t melt. Gan Jiang sighed and Mo Xie cried. If the material wouldn’t melt, then the crafting would be a failure. And if the crafting failed, Gan Jiang would be killed by the Lord. But Gan Jiang could think of no failure and could only sigh.
Then one night, Mo Xie suddenly smiled. Seeing her smile, Gan Jiang became afraid. For he knew why she smiled. Gan Jiang told Mo Xie, “No, don’t do it.” Mo Xie said nothing but merely smiled. When Gan Jiang woke up, he found that Mo Xie wasn’t besides him. Broken-hearted, he hurried to where he knew Mo Xie was. What Gan Jiang saw was Mo Xie standing atop the forge like a fairy. Mo Xie saw the shape of Gan Jiang rushing towards her from afar in the morning light and smiled. She heard him yelling her name, in a bare croak. Mo Xie was still smiling but tears fell down her face at the same time. Gan Jiang was crying too. With a bleared vision, he saw Mo Xie falling. The last words he heard was “Gan Jiang, I haven’t died, we will be together yet….”
The material within the forge melted and the crafting was successful. Two swords, one male and one feminine, came out and Gan Jiang named them for himself and his wife. Gan Jiang only gave the Lord of Chu Mo Xie and kept the only sword himself. This news was soon heard by the Lord and he sent warriors who laid siege to Gan Jiang. In despair, Gan Jiang surrendered. Then he opened up the container in which he stored the male sword and asked, “Mo Xie, how can we be together?” The sword suddenly jumped out of the container and became a beautiful white dragon that soared away. At the same time, Gan Jiang also disappeared and the Mo Xie sword that the Lord of Chu kept besides him also disappeared simultaneously.
Meanwhile, within a desolate region thousands of miles away, there appeared a young white dragon in a big lake called Yan Ping Jing (modern Nan Ping within Fu Jian). This white dragon was beautiful and kind, summoning the most opportune climates for the local citizens. As time went on, this desolate region grew rich from good climate and rich crops, so much that the local city changed its name from “Poor city” to “Abundant city”. Yet, the locals often found that the white dragon was always looking up as if waiting for something on the surface of the lake. Some even saw that its eyes often contained tears.
Six hundred years had gone past. Through pure chance, the Mayor of Abundant City dug out a stone container hidden underground when he initiated reconstruction of the city wall. Within the container, there laid a sword that had the name Gan Jiang engraved upon it. The Mayor was overjoyed and carried this legendary sword besides him always. One day, when he went near the Yan Ping Jing, his sword suddenly jumped out of the scabbard on its own and into the water. Amidst his shock, the water roiled and then two dragons, one white and the other black, surfaced. The two dragons gave several nods to the Mayor in rapid succession and then twined their necks together in intimate movements. Then both of them sunk down into the water and disappeared. Then local citizens of the Abundant City discovered that the white dragon who always look about with tears in its eyes in Yang Ping Jing and rumoured to have been seen for six hundred years was no longer there one day. The next day, however, an ordinary couple moved into Abundant City. The husband was a very good smith but he only took commissions to make farming equipment and turned down any orders for crafting weapons. When he worked at the forge, his wife would always be found besides him either fanning him or wiping sweat for him.
Of particular interest is that the bit about Mo Xie sacrificing herself to quicken the crafting process is supported by scientific evidence. Specifically, it was found that the large amount of phosphorus contained within human bones (I think it’s within bones but not sure) can act to quicken the smelting process.