Shanghai Daily : 2021-02-20

Art : 5 : 5


ART 5 Shanghai Daily Saturday 20 February 2021 home with the money when he hears of his brother’s arrest. The story’s second line then develops with Youlan. The butcher You Hulu, an alcoholic, has borrowed the 15 strings of coins to buy liquor. He comes home drunk and jokes with his stepdaught­er Su Shujuan that he is going to sell her and shows her the coins, which he says are a deposit on the sale. Frightened of becoming a slave, the girl escapes in the night. In her hurry, she forgets to lock the front door. The thief Lou Ashu (shu in Chinese also means “rat”) sneaks into the house. Seeing You is asleep, he attempts to steal the coins from under the butcher’s pillow. You wakes up, and a fight ensues. The thief, in a panic, chops the butcher to death with an axe and flees with the coins. The following morning, the neighbors find the butcher lying in a pool of blood, with the money and stepdaught­er gone. They call the police. Coincident­ally, the girl runs into the brother Youlan in her flight from home. Youlan, a kind-hearted man, escorts her to a village where her aunt lives. When they arrive, the police are there. In a body search, the police find the money that Youlan was carrying on his way to save his brother. The thief Lou, who is also in the crowd of onlookers, shouts that they murdered the butcher and stole the money. “Arrest them!” he shouts. Su and Youlan are sentenced to death by the local governor. Prefecture Chief Kuang — after the dream of the two bears who beg for justice, each carrying a rat in its mouth — decides to go through the two case files again and finds questionab­le points. He decides to reinvestig­ate the cases. The painter Zhu Gang depicts the scene when Kuang turns his suspicions on the thief Lou, who is praying in a temple. Kuang disguises himself as a fortune teller and tries to coerce Lou into telling the truth. Under Zhu’s brushes, the two images are vivid and sharp in contrast. The upright officer of the law shows his cleverness, while fear on the thief’s face betrays his attempt to appear calm and confident.