Chapter 12 Copying the Sutra
“Today, you will be copying the Bone-setting analgesic water. This magic has four incantations. Today, you must write down the first incantation. It should not lack even a single word. If you misplace even one character, then you will get hit by the plank.” Old Daoist Priest handed over a piece of yellow paper to Zhang Jiaohua, on top of which many characters were written. Originally, Zhang Jiaohua had only went to preschool, and at the preschool, the most he had learnt was “Your white feathers float on the emerald water, Your red feet push the clear waves.”, and also “b-p-m-f-d-t-n-l”. The characters on this yellow paper, shouldn’t have been able to be understood. However, Zhang Jiaohua discovered that he was able to recognize the aforesaid characters. [TLNote: Your white feathers float…. is “Ode to the Goose” a famous poem taught in Chinese Schools][TLNote 2: b-p-m-f-d-t-n-l is method used for teaching Pinyin in Chinese Schools]
Atop it was written: Disciple offers entreaty to Hua Tuo imperial edict, in the Meishan wild soldiers, amongst the five-five twenty five wild soldiers in the east-west-south-north-middle, disciple goes when called, comes when called, General Yang Jing, First Eldest, Second Eldest, Thirteenth Eldest Lang, Seal the sword, seal the blood, seal under the name of Liu Sanlang, swelling spot diminish, warmth go diminish the cold, sore spot also stop, I offer respect to Taishang Laozi, favouring the Imperial edict.
Later, the Old Daoist Priest explained, “This Bone-setting analgesic talisman requests the spirit of Patriarch Hua Tuo. It uses the five thunder bugle calls to request the five kinds of wild soldiers in all five directions. The effect is the rapid decrease of swelling, reduction in fever, and relieving pain. You should remember that even the mistake of one word can render it ineffective.”
“Is this talisman useful?” That voice beyond-his-control recalled to mind. These words were actually what Zhang Jiaohua also wanted to say.
“Put out your hand!” Old Daoist Priest said with a cold look.
Zhang Jiaohua actually wanted to shrink his hand, but his body wasn’t under his control, and his tender soft hands stretched out on their own.
The disciplinary bamboo ruler heavily struck the palm of the little hand, only then the little hand promptly withdrew.
Zhang Jiaohua could clearly feel the pain, the pain was boring down into his bones. Zhang Jiaohua felt his mood immediately become grieved, and he had a thought of wanting to bawl.
“Don’t cry!” Old Daoist Priest struck down heavily onto the table with the disciplinary ruler.
The small body shrunk back out of fright.
This incantation had 82 characters altogether without even a single punctuation mark. Old Daoist Priest didn’t tell how it should be punctuated, nor did he read it out. He just made Zhang Jiaohua copy it. Even though it was just copying, it was still quite troublesome. After he had copied “Demon Exorcising Lord Savior Great Spirit Manifest” as “Demon Exorcising Lord Savior Spirit Manifest Great”, the sheet was directly ripped to shreds by Old Daoist Priest, and his hand was struck with a plank.
The 82 characters were copied many times and many of those times he had copied wrongly. Zhang Jiaohua’s hands had become swollen from the beating. Only after some time was he able to copy this charm well.
After the copying was done, Old Daoist Priest used Jiuniang along with mercury to punctuate the text. After that was done, he put away this paper. [TLNote: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiuniang%5D
“This will be returned by Master to you as soon as you complete the apprenticeship.” Old Daoist Priest this time spoke in an amiable manner.
In one night, Zhang Jiaohua had studied this Bone-setting Analgesic Water incantation. Though he didn’t know how he would use it in the future.
Early morning, Zhang Jiaohua was woken up by his mother, “Son, you should go cattle-herding.”
Although Oxen in agricultural families did the hard work, but compared to the beasts of burden in the agricultural families, they were incomparably more precious. They got to eat to their full every day. In the noon, when the temperature became high, the Ox couldn’t be let out to graze, only during the morning and evening time, the Ox could be let out to graze.
Zhang Jiaohua had been hit many times in the dream by the Old Daoist Priest, actually he could still feel the pain even now, “Mother, last night, my Master hit me so many times. My hands are aching, ah.”
Zhang Jiaohua was incessantly blowing air onto his hands. It is said that if one learns Water magic, then the Master’s breath could relieve the pain. Zhang Jiaohua by blowing like this could feel the sensation of pain getting lighter.
Liu Qiaoye seeing that appearance of Zhang Jiaohua, couldn’t help but smile gently, “What did your Master make you do yesterday? Why did he want to hit you?”
“My Master is really ferocious, ah. He made me copy difficult characters, if I made mistake in even one character, he would hit me.” Zhang Jiaohua promptly complained to his mother.
“Then you let Mother have a look.” Liu Qiaoye’s heart moved, she wanted to know what was up with these dreams of her son. If you occasionally have the same dream, there wouldn’t be anything strange. Every day having the same dream, there is something wrong.
Liu Qiaoye searched for the pencil used by Zhang Jiaohua in the preschool, and also looked for a piece of rough paper. She had Zhang Jiaohua write down the characters that he had learnt from last night’s dream.
Zhang Jiaohua promptly acted like a spoilt brat, “They are so difficult to write. Mother, I wanted to go cattle-herding.”
“If you write the characters, Mother will give you candy.” Liu Qiaoye out of nowhere produced a hard candy.
The strength of candy is limitless, Zhang Jiaohua promptly sat down onto the stool, and taking the pencil began writing down the contents from his dream. In the dream, Zhang Jiaohua had copied several times, in one night he had copied 82 characters. He could still remember them clearly even now.
Zhang Jiaohua in his own scrawly handwriting wrote ” Disciple offers entreaty to Hua Tuo imperial edict”, Liu Qiaoye’s jaw had already opened wide. She knew that it was absolutely impossible for him to learn these characters in preschool. It was impossible for preschool to be able to teach this sentence. The only explanation is that things in Zhang Jiaohua’s dream were real.
Liu Qiaoye was shaken to the core, “Who taught Zhang Jiaohua in the dream?”
Within a short period of time, Zhang Jiaohua had already managed to write the entire set of 82 characters.
“Precious son, do you know what is this thing that Master made you copy?” Liu Qiaoye asked while handing over the candy into the hands of her son.
“Bone-setting Analgesic Water. Master said, it can reduce the area of swelling, can bring down fever, and relieve pain. Mother, I am going cattle-herding.” Zhang Jiaohua’s memory was good, he was able to completely remember each word and each phrase that the Old Daoist Priest spoke.
“Go, Go, but be careful on the road.” Liu Qiaoye gently stroked the head of her son. Oh my dear son, is this a good fortune or a calamity, ah.
Zhang Jiaohua was very happy, as he hopped and skipped along the way. Jinhu et al, were also happy very much. For a long time, hadn’t gone cattle-herding. When Zhang Jiaohua family’s Water Buffalo saw Zhang Jiaohua coming, it also shook his head at Zhang Jiaohua delightedly. Even if it was a draft animal, it still remembered who was good to it.
Zhang Jiaohua removed the wooden plug from the cattle pen. In those days, the cattle pen was constructed a short distance away from the house, because the cattle could easily attract various kinds of mosquitoes and other insects. Moreover, in those years, the thieves also wouldn’t dare to have designs on the cattle. This was because harming the agricultural production was a very serious offence. There was a heavy punishment for stealing cattle. Moreover, it was not easy to dispose of the stolen goods. However, several years later, the cattle pen were relocated back into the houses. Some people even believed, that for safety it is better to live together with the cattle. Certainly, this is something to be talked about later.
“Be obedient, be obedient, you must not act like a thief!” Zhang Jiaohua patted the water buffalo on the head as he called out to it. A two thousand jin heavy water buffalo acting tame and obedient to a six-seven year old child, was quite peculiar.
Jinhu et al, were also studying how Zhang Jiaohua was patting the big water buffalo’s head. The big water buffalo snorted several times, then straightforwardly began walking alongside Zhang Jiaohua.
On either side of the road were paddy fields, in the paddy fields were currently verdant and lush with rice crops. This was even more tender and soft when compared to the sogon grass in the mountains. Near the field edges, soybeans were also often planted. The water buffalo ate grass, but its fondness for grass was not very high. Moreover, in the early morning having just come out of the pen with an empty stomach, it was very easy to succumb to a physiological urge. If the master was not paying attention, it could easily turn its head around and eat several mouthfuls in a short instant. Especially, if a child as young as Zhang Jiaohua were to come for cattle-herding, and the cattle stubbornly wanted to do misdeeds, then it would be absolutely impossible to control.