Xue Yong was from Luoyang, Henan. He excelled in using the spear and cudgel and made a living as a medicine peddlar. He was nicknamed 'Sick tiger' (病大虫).
Once, Xue went to Jieyang Town to sell medicine, and had some trouble with the Mu brothers(Mu Hong and Mu Chun), who were the most influential and well-known men in town. The Mu brothers ordered the people watching Xue's performance not to award Xue any money. At the same time, Song Jiang, on his way to exile in Jiangzhou, passed by Jieyang Town and ignored the Mu brothers' warning and awarded Xue Yong five taels of silver. Mu Chun was furious and wanted to hit Song Jiang, but Xue stopped him and won him in a fight.