Wild Goose Pass
The Neglected Events of the Xuanhe Era 宣和遺事

The Neglected Events of the Xuanhe Era 宣和遺事

It is the seventh and final year of the Xuanhe era, and in the capital, near the southern banks of the Yellow River, strange things are afoot. A blue dragon was reported lingering outside of a teashop early one morning, scaring the proprietor so badly that he fainted. The emperor was seen sneaking out of the palace’s back gate at dusk, dressed as a common scholar. And in the shadow of the Gate of Sour Dates, in front of a forgotten wu shrine to the Bee King, down an alleyway known only for its five twists and turns, every night a blind old man has been beating a drum, waiting for a crowd to gather around him…


Introduction (pictured below)

The Emperor and the Courtesan

Introduction to The Neglected Events of the Xuanhe era

The Neglected Events of the Xuanhe Era (Xuanhe yishi) is a storyteller’s script, likely dating to the 13th century, which describes the fall of the Northern Song dynasty. Generally considered to contain the seeds of its more famous successor, The Water Margin, it is the earliest piece of writing to mention Song Jiang and his thirty-six heroes. The majority of the script, however, focuses on the ineffective Emperor Huizong, his corrupt government ministers, a particularly suspect Daoist spiritual advisor, the requisite femme fatale (the courtesan introduced in the translation above), before reaching its climax with the Jurchen invasion, the siege of the capital, and the capture of the entire imperial family.