Ruan Xiaowu

Ruan Xiaowu (阮小五), also known as Ruan the 5th is a character in the "Water Margin". As part of the trio the Ruan brothers, Ruan sat on the council of the 36 Heavenly Spirits in the Liangshan contingent, which peaked at 108 members.

Ruan Xiaowu had eyes like bells, and arms like iron staffs. Although he wore a smile on his face, a murderous impression could be detected. He had a tattoo of a leopard on his chest, and was nicknamed the 'Short-lived second brother (短命二郎)'.

Ruan Xiaowu was the second brother among the three Ruan brothers; Ruan Xiaoer, himself and Ruan Xiaoqi. They lived at Shijie Village as fishermen. Once, Wu Yong recommended the Ruan brothers to Chao Gai and the seven of them robbed the convoy of birthday gifts. Later, the incident was exposed and the government immediately sent troops to arrest them. The brothers followed Wu Yong's strategy and defeated He Tao, a government officer. Then, they fled to Liangshan for refuge. Wang Lun the incompetent leader of the Liangshan band, did not want to accept the seven heroes, but was killed by Lin Chong. Chao Gai was then elected to be the new leader. Ruan Xiaowu took the 7th place among all the heroes. Ruan Xiaowu followed the heroes as they defeated Huang An, rescued Song Jiang from execution and on many other campaigns against their enemies. He became one of the leaders of the Liangshan navy due to his excellent skills in naval warfare.

During the Fang La campaign, Ruan Xiaowu and Li Jun went to Qingxi Prefecture to pretend to surrender to Fang La. They acted as spies from within and helped the Liangshan heroes conquer Qingxi. Unfortunately, on the verge of victory, Ruan Xiaowu was killed by Premier Lou, Fang La's surbordinate.

Films and TV adaptations

In the 1997 TV serial from Mainland China based on the novel, Ruan Xiaowu was played by Zhang Hengping and he died when he fell into a pit full of sharp objects together with Ruan Xiaoer during the Fang La campaign.

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