Destiny and Fate: Twenty Bowls of Orange Skin Soup


PureInsight | December 8, 2003

[] In the era of the Emperor Xuzong in the Tang Dynasty, there was a fortune-teller who claimed he could foretell what foods people would eat in the future. Many officials in the Imperial Court went to see him and ask him to tell their fortune. Only one senior official, named Li Qijun, did not believe him.

Li Qijun invited the fortune-teller to his home and asked him, "What am I going to have to eat tomorrow?" The fortune-teller thought for quite a while, then told him, "You will eat two plates of sticky rice cake, and twenty bowls of orange skin soup." Li smiled. He asked his chef to prepare a banquet for him the next day and he planned to invite other officials to join him.

In the early morning next day, the Emperor summoned Li Qijun. The Emperor told him, "Today the mayor of the imperial capital presented me some new sticky rice. My chef made some cakes with it. You might want to try some." After quite a while, a servant brought him cakes with a golden tray. Li extended his thanks to the Emperor, and started to eat the cake. He had to eat them all although he did not want to. The Emperor delighted at Li's finishing all of the cakes, and told the official, "It seems you like the cakes very much. Let me bestow you another plate of sticky rice cakes." Li had to finish another entire plate's worth of cakes.

After Li returned home, he suffered a serious stomachache. He could not eat anything and could only drink orange skin soup. It was not until midnight that the pain receded. He recalled what the fortune-teller said, and asked his servants, "How many bowls of orange skin soup did I have?" They answered, "20 bowls."

Li gave a long sigh of admiration for the fortune-teller's amazing ability. He asked servants to invite the fortune-teller to his residence quickly, and gave him quite a bit of money and some beautiful silk.

Adapted From Historic Anecdotes

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