Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain
Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (雪山飞狐), or Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain, is a Wuxia novel by Louis Cha, who is better known as Jin Yong. Its first installment was first published in 1959 in Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper.
Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain has a prequel; Other Tales of the Flying Fox, published in 1960.
The novel is one of Jin Yong's shortest Wuxia novels with only 10 chapters. Also, unlike all the other novels by Jin Yong, the chapters of the novel do not have specific literary titles and are all labelled in numerical order.
The story begins with a scene in the northern regions of China with the historical background set during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing Dynasty. A group of pugilists unearth a treasure chest on the Snowy Mountain and begin fighting for it. Later, they make their way to a house on Jade Brush Peak (玉笔峰), where it is revealed that they are invited there to meet the legendary hero "Flying Fox of the Snowy Mountain" Hu Fei. Also present there are the revered hero "Golden-Faced Buddha" Miao Renfeng and his daughter Miao Ruolan. They speak of the origin of the precious saber concealed within the treasure chest.
The saber's story leads to the past feuds of the four bodyguards of Li Zicheng, who led a rebellion which successfully overthrew the crumbling Ming Dynasty several decades ago. Li was besieged by Manchurian invaders and was apparently killed by Hu, one of the bodyguards, who presented his severed head to the enemy and was rewarded. The other three bodyguards sought revenge on Hu but realised that they had wronged him after killing him, because Li Zicheng was still alive and had managed to escape with Hu's help. Unfortunately, their descendants did not know the truth and henceforth became sworn enemies.
The feuds of their ancestors lasted until Hu Yidao and Miao Renfeng's generation. Hu and Miao had a spectacular duel on the Snowy Mountain to determine who was the better fighter and to resolve the feuds of their ancestors. However, instead of becoming enemies, they gradually developed a friendship due to the mutual respect for each other. Unfortunately, things came to a tragic end, when Hu Yidao was slain by Miao Renfeng unintentionally. In fact, Tian Guinong, a treacherous villain, had smeared poison on Miao's sword and the poison seeped into Hu's body and killed him when Miao only inflicted Hu with a minor cut wound. Hu Yidao's infant child Hu Fei was rescued by Ping A'si, who took care of him and brought him up all by himself. Hu Fei trained hard in his Hu Family’s martial arts and became a formidable martial artist like his ancestors and was nicknamed "Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain".
Back on Jade Brush Peak, Hu Fei arrives promptly and meets Miao Renfeng and Miao Ruolan. He falls in love with Miao Ruolan on first sight. Meanwhile, the pugilists are still bickering among themselves and finally decide that they will proceed to hunt the remains of the treasure, which is hidden somewhere to the south. Before leaving, the pugilists, who harbour ill intentions against Hu Fei, immobilise Miao Ruolan and strip her to her undergarments and leave her in the inner room. The meeting is in fact a trap set for Hu Fei, as the pugilists have collaborated with the Manchurian soldiers to kill Hu Fei and Miao Renfeng. Hu Fei saves Miao Renfeng's life. Miao catches Hu Fei together with his daughter in the inner room and suspects that Hu Fei had molested his daughter.
The conflict reaches a climax when Miao Renfeng challenges Hu Fei to a duel and both of them fight for several rounds but neither emerges the victor. They are stranded on a cliff and the novel comes to its climatic ending. The cliff on which both men are standing is on the verge of collapse as it can only withstand one person's weight. Hu Fei has an opportunity to attack Miao Renfeng and knock him off the cliff, but he hesitates as Miao may be his future father-in-law. However, if he refrains, both of them will fall to their deaths. Hence, the novel ends here, leaving the conclusion on whether Hu Fei did attack Miao Renfeng to the reader's imagination.