Chinese Folklore – Part 3 – Zhang Xiaole, Laizhou, Shandong

Zhang Xiaole, Laizhou, Shandong

A wisp of black hair Source: China Ginseng Information Network

In the early years, there was a child named Zhang Xiaole in Laizhou Prefecture, Shandong Province. His father died young, leaving him and his old mother alone in the family. Xiao Le's mother has been sick on the kang all year round, and their lives are very tight.

In order to treat his mother’s illness, Xiao Le ran around seeking medical advice all day long. However, his mother's illness never got better. Later, he heard people say that his mother suffered from Qi deficiency and ischemia, which could be cured by using ginseng from the Guandong Mountains. But where can I get such valuable things? Besides, my family is too poor to afford it! Xiaole worried about this all day long.
On this day, Xiao Le was watching her mother cry at home. Uncle Zhang from next door opened the door and came in. He stroked Xiao Le's head and said, "My child, just shedding tears won't hit the target. We have to think of a way. The day before yesterday, I heard that there were some ginseng plants in Fuhetang Pharmacy in the city. I went to ask and found out that one plant costs fifty cents. We are so poor that even if we buy iron, we can’t afford it."

Xiao Le was anxious, holding Uncle Zhang's hand and saying, "What should we do?"

Uncle Zhang said: "I heard that ginseng is found in Guandong Mountain. My grandfather saw that thing when he went to Guandong in the past. I heard his old man said that there is a Dibai Mountain there, and there are ginseng on the mountain. Go and dig it yourself. Maybe you can dig some. If you have a few seedlings, there is hope for your mother's illness."

After listening to Uncle Zhang's words, Xiao Le entrusted her mother to a neighbor to take care of her, said goodbye to her fellow villagers, and set off for Guandong Mountain.

He kept walking forward day and night, crossing countless rivers and climbing over countless mountains. He had to eat when he was hungry, and drank water from the ravine when he was thirsty. His back and bones ached from walking, and his legs weighed a thousand kilograms when lifted. However, Zhang Xiaole was not discouraged. Walking and walking, one day, he came to a big river. When he saw the river, it was so wide that he couldn't see the edge at a glance. There were no bridges on the river and no boats in the river. Xiao Le stood by the river and was looking at the river and was worried. At this time, he saw a black man coming towards him, wearing a green cloth shirt and a green forged hat, holding a wooden stick in his hand. He nodded to Xiao Le and said:

"Brother, do you want to go across the river?"
"Yes, brother, can you help me there?"

The black man said: "Are you Zhang Xiaole?"

Zhang Xiaole said: "Yes, how do you know me?

The black man said: "My grandfather always praised you for your cleverness and said you would plow the plow to see if your kindness would last. Come on, I will take you across the river."

The black man asked Xiao Le to close his eyes and ride on his wooden stick, not letting him look back or speak. Xiao Leguang heard the wind whistling in his ears and did not dare to move. After a while, the black man spoke: "Open your eyes, we are here."

Xiao Le felt strange and asked: "Brother, what is your name?"

The black man said: "No need to ask, you will know later."

Zhang Xiaole thanked the black man and continued walking forward. After walking for countless days and nights, he finally arrived at the base of Laobai Mountain.

The mountains here are connected with each other, with towering ancient trees and steep mountains and deep ravines. Xiao Le slowly pulled the grass tree with a forest stick and started looking for ginseng. It was his first time digging ginseng. I still don’t know what ginseng looks like, let alone where it grows. He wanted to ask someone, but there was no one there. He called several times, but no one answered. Seeing that the sun was going down, the big trees were roaring in the wind, and he didn't know where to go. At this moment, Xiao Le was really worried. He had no choice but to sit down on a stone and rest for a while.

Xiaole was tired from traveling all these days and fell asleep after a while. As soon as he closed his eyes, he saw an old man with a white beard walking from the southwest, wearing a green robe and a purple hat, walking towards Xiao Le, leaning on a cane.

The old man with a white beard asked: "Young man, what are you doing sitting here?"

Xiao Le saw that the old man was very kind, and said straightforwardly: "Old man, I want to dig ginseng seedlings to treat my mother's illness."

"Hahahaha, do you know ginseng?" The old man asked, bending down and stroking his snow-white beard.

“I don’t know, old man, can you help me find ginseng?”
"Well, there was a way, but..."
Xiao Le was very happy when he heard this. He walked up to him as if he were a relative and asked: "Old man, tell me, what does ginseng look like and where does it grow?"
"Hey, young man, digging ginseng is not an easy task. It depends on whether you have the courage and whether you can endure hardship."
"Old man, as long as I can dig ginseng and cure my mother's illness, I'm not afraid of anything."

The old man looked at Zhang Xiaole with a sincere look, nodded with a smile, pointed forward with his hand and said: "Ginseng grows in the old forests of Lianyun Mountain. If you want to dig ginseng, you have to climb a lot of mountains. There are many rivers, and many worms and beasts have been killed. They are all showing their teeth and claws, and they are very vicious. Aren't you afraid?"

Xiao Le listened to the old man's story and thought to himself: I am not afraid of climbing mountains and crossing rivers. Even though these big insects and beasts are more powerful, I still want to fight them. So, he kowtowed to the old man and left immediately. The old man hurriedly stopped him and said, "Wait a minute, I have a cane here. Take it with you. Remember, you have to kill the big yellow-flowered worm first. As long as you can kill it, other beasts will make way for you." After that, A strong wind blew, and the old man with the white beard disappeared. Xiao Le was also awakened by the sound of wind. When he opened his eyes, he saw that there was really a cane beside him.

Lianyun Mountain is a tall mountain with many towering trees several arms thick and more than ten feet high growing on it. From a distance, it looks like a dark forest where the sun never shines all year round. There are also many ferocious beasts that often appear here, which is really eerie and terrifying. But when Xiao Le thought of treating his mother, he was not afraid of anything.

It was getting dark, and the roars of various wild beasts could be heard in the distance. He walked in the dark for about half an hour, when suddenly a strong wind blew, and branches and stones flew from the sky. It turned out that the big yellow-flowered worm came, it broke the big tree, swept down the rocks, and rushed towards Xiao Le. Xiao Le became brave enough to raise his crutch and hit the big bug on the chest. There was a "pop" sound and the big bug was injured and rolling on the ground. It stuck its head in the ground and screamed "chirp, chirp". After a while, many more monsters came and rushed towards Xiaole. Xiao Le's eyes widened, and he hit the big yellow-flowered worm hard with his crutch. The big long insect was beaten until it bled from all its orifices, and its tail was wrapped around a big tree and it died. The other beasts were immediately frightened away. Xiao Le saw that the two eyes of the big insect had fallen out and were shining brightly. He found it very interesting, so he picked it up and put it in his pocket. At this time, a glimmer of light appeared in front of him. Xiao Le followed the light and came to a large platform on Lianzhi Mountain.

There are countless strange-shaped stones growing here, some like people and some like horses, just like the stone people and horses in front of the palace. There is a house deep in the woods, and there is a ray of light in the house. Xiao Le walked towards the house. At this time, he felt that the mountain was moving, the ground was shaking, and the rumbling sound made his ears buzz. Xiao Le's heart was beating hard and sweat was flowing down his face. Xiao Le said to himself: "Huh, I'm not afraid of the sky falling." As soon as his words came out, the sound became far away, the mountain stabilized, and the trees kept splitting to both sides. A green hall with tile roofs The compound suddenly appeared in front of him.

Xiao Le was hungry and thirsty, so he went to knock on the door. After a while, the door opened. Then a burst of fragrance came over. Xiaole had never smelled that fragrance before. He felt refreshed all over his body.
The person who came to open the door was an old man with a white beard. The old man said happily: "Good boy, come in quickly."
Xiao Le took a closer look and saw that the person who opened the door was the old man he saw in his dream.
"Hahahaha, young man, you can dig ginseng this time."
Xiaole was very happy. He held the old man's hand and a string of tears flowed from his eyes. He told the old man with white beard all about how he went up the mountain to fight the wild beast.
The old man with a white beard led him to sit down in the house, and a big black man brought him good tea and rice.
The black man asked Xiao Le: "Brother, do you still know me?"
Xiao Le took a look, wasn't this the big brother who helped me? Why did he come here? Xiao Le quickly said: "I know, I know, it was my big brother who helped me cross the river." It turned out that this black man was the grandson of the old man with the white beard.

After breakfast the next day, the old man with a white beard took Xiao Le to the back garden and told Xiao Le: "The girls here who play music are all my grandchildren, and they all have their own skills. Young man, no To tell you the truth, all my grandsons and granddaughters are made from ginseng. Except for my granddaughter wearing a pearl on her head, you can choose any of the other little ginseng babies to take home, and she will cure your old mother's illness. .”

Xiao Le took a look and saw that the back garden was extremely beautiful, with fireworks, morning glories, camellias, and all kinds of colors. Various birds were flying around. Chirping and cheering. A large natural pool is in the garden. There are also many little boys wearing red bellybands and little girls wearing two buns, chasing and playing here. There was a girl as handsome as a flower sitting by the pool. She was wearing a pink top, an emerald green skirt, and a small red flower in her hair. She was dressing up in front of the pool.
The old man with a white beard said to Xiao Le with a smile: "Young man, you can take the baby you choose. But you can't take my granddaughter who is dressing up by the pool."

Xiao Le felt very embarrassed. He thought: If he brought a ginseng baby back, why would he be willing to boil a bouncing child into medicine to cure his illness? This is impossible no matter what. He said to the old man with white beard: "Old man, I won't accept it from anyone. I can't turn a good child into medicine and do such evil things."
After listening to what he said, the old man kept nodding his head, stroking his white beard and said: "Young man, you are so kind-hearted. Let's do this. Whatever you want, I will definitely satisfy you."

Xiao Le calculated for a long time and didn't want anything. Finally, he turned his attention to the girl who was combing her hair and said, "Old man, please give me a hug from Qingsi, the sister who is combing her hair. Can't I take it back and treat my mother?" He originally didn't want to do it. Shenwazi, if you want a lock of hair, the old man will definitely agree to it happily. Unexpectedly, the old man with the white beard thought for a long time before he sighed and said: "Ahem! Just because you are kind-hearted and wholeheartedly treat your mother, then I will do what you want." So the old man with the white beard followed you The granddaughter said hello, and Miss Shen came over. The old man whispered something beside his granddaughter. Miss Shen shyly gave Xiao Le a strand of black hair.

Xiao Le took Qingsi and carefully put it into her arms. The old man with a white beard said next to him: "Child, you also need to find something for my granddaughter!" Xiao Le's face suddenly turned red. He thought, my family is very poor, I have nothing with me, and the clothes I wear are torn, what can I give her? He said to the old man in embarrassment: "Old man, please don't be offended, I really don't have a gift for the girl!" The old man with a white beard stroked his snow-white beard and smiled and said: "Silly boy, don't you have a treasure on you? "Xiao Le lowered his head and thought, didn't he have two big insect eyes on his body? So, he respectfully gave the two shining big insect eyes to Miss Ginseng.

At this time, the old man with a white beard laughed and went to serve the wine, and left with a stick. Xiao Le and Miss Shen were the only ones left here. Xiao Le was so embarrassed that he didn't know what to do. He lowered his head and didn't dare to look at the girl. After a moment of pause, Miss Shen finally spoke: "Why are you so good at asking for just my black hair? Who taught you this?"
Xiao Le said: "No one taught me! I can't bear to ask for someone else, why not ask you for a lock of hair? Anyway, it's enough to cure my mother's illness."

Miss Shen burst into laughter. She said: "You are really not stupid. According to the rules of our family, if I give you black hair, it means that we are engaged." She gently pushed Xiao Le and said, "Did you know? You are already a My grandpa’s grandson-in-law is here.”
A few words made Zhang Xiaole even more embarrassed and his face turned redder than the flowers on Miss Shen's head. He said embarrassedly: "How did I know about this?" At this moment, both of them pursed their lips and smiled.

After a long time, Zhang Xiaole raised his head and took a closer look at Miss Shen. He saw that she had a melon face, red lips, big watery eyes, and black hair. She had two swallow-like buns on her head. She was such a handsome girl. Xiao Le felt uneasy and stammered: "Sister, my family is very poor, and my mother has been sick all year round. Don’t you dislike it?”
Miss Shen saw Xiao Le's thoughts and continued: "You are so stupid. If I think you are poor, I won't give you black hair."
Miss Shen also told Xiao Le: "This time we are just engaged. In order to cure my mother's illness as soon as possible, you should go back early. Don't forget to say good things to your mother for me. I will wait for you here next spring... ”
Early the next morning, Xiao Le said goodbye to the old man with the white beard and the big black man, and then went back on the road. He was worried about his mother's illness and traveled day and night, arriving home not long after.

When I got home, my old mother burst into tears with joy. Uncle Zhang and his neighbors also came. Everyone was asking questions and vying to see the ginseng dug by Xiao Le. After Zhang Xiaole told the story of his search for ginseng, he took out the black hair given to him by his wife. Hey! It turned out to be some white and translucent ginseng seeds.
Xiao Le Niang took the medicine boiled with ginseng seeds and recovered from her illness in a few days. She was thinking about meeting her daughter-in-law all day long.
In the blink of an eye, spring came, and Zhang Xiaole and his mother went to Laobai Mountain, got married to Miss Ginseng, and lived a happy life lovingly.
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