Historical Story: Broken stele


During the Zhengde period of the Ming Dynasty, a capable man named Liu Jiuzhang came out of Zhangjiawan, Tongxian County, beizhili. Liu Jiuzhang is naturally smart. He can learn once and never forget. He was admitted to the children’s College at the age of 15, became a scholar at the age of 18 and a master at the age of 21. He went to the capital in high spirits to participate in the joint examination, which also won the gold list. Liu Jiuzhang’s home is close to the capital. As soon as he saw the Jinshi, he went home happily and waited for news.

Besides, the imperial government is controlled by the eunuch Liu Jin. He is a greedy master and doesn’t miss any chance to make money. Of course, this is the best time to appoint an official position. He can’t miss it. He will give someone a fat job if he gives more money. After waiting for a long time, Liu Jiuzhang didn’t come to give gifts. As soon as he was angry, he made Liu Jiuzhang the magistrate of Gejiu county.

 

 Broken stele

Liu Jiuzhang was really anxious and angry when he got the letter. He never thought that he was so capable that he was sent to that poor county to be a seven grade sesame official. He was too lazy to take office. After receiving the lawsuit and official seal, he drank at home all day.

That day, an uninvited guest came to his house. He was a thin old man in his fifties, but his eyes were shining. He claimed to be fan Deguang. He was the county magistrate of Jiuxian county. When he came to Zhangjiawan, he specially invited Liu Jiuzhang to take office. Liu Jiuzhang said unhappily, “I’m not in good health recently. It’s not too late to take office when I’m in good health.”

Fan Deguang said calmly, “I didn’t want to disturb your excellency, but I heard through the grapevine that the emperor wants to travel to the south of the Yangtze River, he must pass through our county. If the emperor learns that you haven’t taken office, I’m afraid he will be punished.”

Hearing this, Liu Jiuzhang jumped up in fright. He simply packed up a few clothes and followed fan Deguang to take office.

Outside the county government office, Liu Jiuzhang saw a bluestone monument standing in the pavilion. The monument is new and has not engraved a word. Liu Jiuzhang asked fan Deguang what happened to this monument. Fan Deguang hesitated and said that he didn’t know what was going on. Earlier, the pavilion was empty, but two days ago in the morning, he suddenly found a stone tablet in the pavilion. After asking the watchman, I didn’t see who made it, and I couldn’t think of any use. Liu Jiuzhang looked at the monument and felt a little strange.

A few days after taking office, Liu Jiuzhang visited all the villages and towns within his territory, learned about the local customs, and was even more lost. The old county is located on the plain. The land is fertile and rich in grain, but there is nothing but grain. His talent will be buried in the Loess here. Liu Jiuzhang became more frustrated and indulged in drinking all day.

That morning, Liu Jiuzhang was still asleep. Fan Deguang hurriedly ran in and said in a panic, “adult, adult, go and see it!” Liu Jiuzhang rubbed his bleary eyes and asked, “what’s the matter?” fan Deguang stammered, “that blue stone tablet, scold you!” Liu Jiuzhang jumped up in surprise: “what do you say, the stone tablet will scold me?” Van der Gung nodded, but could not speak. Liu Jiuzhang couldn’t even wear shoes, so he ran out of the county government to see the stone tablet.

Of course, the stone tablet will not curse, but it is engraved with words. The words were very simple. Liu Jiuzhang was scared out of his wits. If he saw these words, where would he still be alive? He ran back to the county government and found a hammer to smash the stone tablet. After more than ten hammers, the stone tablet broke. Liu Jiuzhang was still angry and smashed half of the engraved stone tablet into powder. Then he stopped and shouted to the crowd: “who dares to talk nonsense again, don’t blame me for being rude!”

Three days later, in the morning, a bluestone monument was erected in the pavilion, engraved with the words: Liu Jiuzhang, the county magistrate, had been in office for 29 days. He drank alcohol every day, ignored government affairs, smashed the stone monument and spoke of revenge. Liu Jiuzhang looked at it and was not angry. He swung a hammer and smashed the stone tablet. However, he didn’t know who built the stone tablet. It’s no use fighting with the people. He decided to find out who built the tablet first.

At night, he hid behind the door and peeped at the movement outside the door.

After watching it for two nights, it was normal. Half of the stone tablet stood there quietly. On the third night, he was still hiding behind the door. Liu Jiuzhang was already very tired. Unconsciously, he closed his eyes. Hearing the sound of the drum in the third watch, fan Deguang suddenly shouted in panic, “God, it’s Haunted!” he knelt down and kowtowed outside. Liu Jiuzhang looked through the crack of the door and was stunned by the scene in front of him.

I saw half of the stone tablet flying from the air, and then landed steadily on the half of the stone tablet. How could Liu Jiuzhang believe it? He rubbed his eyes and looked intently. The stone tablet in the pavilion was a whole again. He couldn’t help believing it.

After kowtowing, fan Deguang prayed piously: “Bodhisattva, please forgive us. We know we are wrong and will never smash the stone tablet again.” Liu Jiuzhang took him to the back hall and saluted him: “Uncle fan, please help me find a way. If you see this tablet, I will be punished. It can’t smash again. What do you say?” Fan Deguang thought for a while and suddenly said, “at present, there is only one way.” Liu Jiuzhang was busy asking, “what way?”

Fan Deguang said that there is a folk saying: jade tablets and bluestone tablets are not as good as the people’s good reputation. As long as you become a good official and win the good reputation of the people, the words on the stone tablet will naturally be broken. If you see the inscription above, you will be punished. I can organize the people of the whole county to plead for you. Liu Jiuzhang wants to break his head and can’t think of a better way. That’s all he can do.

The next morning, Liu Jiuzhang began to rise to the court to ask questions.

In five or six days, Liu Jiuzhang concluded several long-standing cases. After reading a lot of poems and books, he naturally knows that the most important thing to be a good official and win the reputation of the people is to make the people live a good life. With fan Deguang, he went deep into the county again, but after more than half a month, he still got nothing, which made him sad.

I was late today. I couldn’t get back to the county government, so I stayed in the village. Seeing the bright moonlight, Liu Jiuzhang walked out of the yard and walked along the dirt road in the village. Out of the village is the canal. At this time, the moon is in the middle of the sky and there is a reflection in the river. Fan Deguang also quietly followed him, stuffed him with a wine gourd and advised him, “don’t worry too much, sir. Alas, it’s difficult for us to do anything in this place!”

Liu Jiuzhang took a sip of wine and said, “I don’t want to do anything big. I just want to let the people live a good life.”

Fan Deguang sighed heavily and said, “but our old county has nothing but the loess land and the canal.”

Liu Jiuzhang also murmured: “loess… Canal…” but he wanted to break his head and couldn’t think of anything else to do except grow food on the loess. After sighing in the middle of the night, he and fan Deguang were half drunk, so they had to go back to the farmhouse and go to sleep.

After ten days in the countryside, he still got nothing, so he had to return to the county government unhappily. When I walked to the county government office, I saw a group of people around the pavilion, pointing at the stone tablet and whispering something. He was stunned and strode into the pavilion. When the people saw him coming, they hurried out of the way. Liu Jiuzhang looked intently, but he saw that the words on the stone tablet were missing, but he engraved a picture with only one melon.

The melon is round and fist sized. There are several wrinkles on the melon. There is still a melon leaf on the melon pedicle, which is very flexible. Liu Jiuzhang called fan Deguang and asked him if he knew the melon. Fan Deguang whispered, “Sir, this is our old county specialty white sand honey!” Liu Jiuzhang was stunned: “white sand honey? Why haven’t I heard of it?” fan Deguang snickered and whispered, “this melon is hidden and can’t be seen by adults!”

Liu Jiuzhang thought it was very novel. He didn’t even enter the county government, so he asked fan Deguang to take him to find the melon. Fan Deguang had to lead the way. When they went out of the city, they came to a nearby crop field, but they saw a place ten feet wide in the crop, planting melons. Liu Jiuzhang pulled away as like as two peas, and saw several melon on the vine, exactly like those carved on the stone tablet. He took off one, broke it off, took a bite, and suddenly his mouth was full of melon fragrance. He cried out: “good melon, good melon! This smell should only exist in the sky. When will it fall to the world!” three or two people ate up half of the melon. At this time, he looked carefully at the half melon in his hand. I saw the melon white skin, white meat, yellow orange pulp. When I ate it, it was slightly sandy, but it was as sweet as honey. It really deserved the name of white sand honey. He ate this half melon very carefully. The more he tasted, the sweeter it became.

After eating the melon, he looked at fan Deguang and asked in surprise, “why do you plant such a good melon secretly? If you plant a large number of melons and sell them in the market, they will be very popular and can sell at a good price!”

Fan Deguang told him that Taizu left rules, what his ancestors did, and what his family had to do from generation to generation. Otherwise, he would break the law and be punished. The old county was originally mostly grain farmers, so it had to grow grain from generation to generation. More than ten years ago, a mission from the western regions took a boat to Beijing to meet the emperor. When it came to the canal near Jiuxian County, it suddenly encountered a strong wind and the hull tilted. Many items on board fell into the river, including two bags of white sand honey. The white honey fell into the river and scattered. There was no way to salvage it, so the mission had to leave. The villagers picked up the white sand honey and felt it was very delicious. They left the seeds for planting, and then it spread. But the people are grain farmers, so they can only plant a few trees secretly, and the melons are eaten by themselves.

Liu Jiuzhang pondered for a moment and suddenly said, “this melon is called ‘grain’.”

Fan Deguang opened his eyes in amazement and stammered, “Sir, you said… What did you say?”

Liu Jiuzhang repeated, “this melon is called ‘grain’.”

Fan Deguang was also a smart man. He immediately understood Liu Jiuzhang’s intention and clapped his hands and said, “wonderful, wonderful!”

Soon, the people spread that the scientific name of this white sand honey is “grain”, and they are all food farmers. It is natural for food farmers to grow “grain”. They are reluctant to eat those melons any more. They let them ripen thoroughly and make melon seeds next year.

Since then, many farmers in Jiuxian county have begun to grow white honey. This white sand honey is of high quality, delicate and sweet. As soon as it arrived in the market, it was quickly robbed. The price of white honey rose again and again, and the people were so happy that they couldn’t close their mouths.

Van der was light years old and applied for retirement. Liu Jiuzhang specially prepared a banquet to see him off. Although the two people are quite different in age, they have a good personal relationship. After a few glasses of wine, the conversation box opened. Fan Deguang hesitated for a moment and said, “there’s something I have to tell you clearly, otherwise I’ll be uneasy.”

Liu Jiuzhang was stunned and asked, “uncle, what’s the matter? You look so dignified?”

Fan Deguang said, “I set up that bluestone monument for you.”

Liu Jiuzhang was too frightened to speak.

Fan Deguang went on to say that when he heard that the Ministry of officials had appointed Liu Jiuzhang to be the magistrate of the old county, but Liu Jiuzhang, relying on his talent, gave such a small official with no future. He was depressed and refused to take office, so he had to invite him in person. He expected that Liu Jiuzhang would not work hard after he took office. It was the people who were unlucky. He thought of a way to blackmail Liu Jiuzhang by building a monument of bad deeds. So he erected the blue stone monument in the pavilion, and then engraved Liu Jiuzhang’s evil deeds on it.

Liu Jiuzhang smashed the stone tablet in anger and peeped whether someone would engrave his evil deeds. Fan Deguang had an idea and carved another half of the stone tablet. He hid it on one side first, then pasted half of the stone tablet with gray paper, put it down from the tree with a rope, and looked at it at night as if it were floating from the air. While Liu Jiuzhang was scared away, he replaced the stone tablet with the paper tablet. Liu Jiuzhang thought it was a divine decree and dared not disobey it any more. He really wanted to do something. But Liu Jiuzhang is a scholar after all. Facing the field, he can’t think of a good way. Fan Deguang had long thought that the people could make money by planting white sand honey. He carved a melon on the stone tablet to wake up Liu Jiuzhang. Liu Jiuzhang is extremely clever. He actually named white sand honey “grain” and allowed the people to plant a large number of crops, which is also a wish of him.

Liu Jiuzhang was stunned and suddenly laughed: “good county magistrate, you played my official as a puppet!” fan Deguang said guiltily: “I’m really unwilling to watch the villagers suffer!” Liu Jiuzhang took a glass of wine and shouted, “uncle, I respect you!”

The two men drank a glass of wine, and Liu Jiuzhang poured another one: “uncle, if you didn’t wake me up, I would still be the depressed drunkard. How could I have today’s glory?” he touched fan Deguang’s glass, raised his neck and drank a glass of wine. At this moment, his understanding of official positions was a little heavier.

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