Tang Yuan* from Yuan Zhi Mountain

PureInsight | September 23, 2007

[PureInsight.org] Tang Yuan are
called yuan zhi in Fukien dialect. There once was a smoothly round
mountain that looked like a tang yuan. Therefore, the villagers near
the mountain called it the Yuan Zhi Mountain. The villagers were all
farmers and they were not well-to-do, but they never worried about not
having enough to eat. They were quite happy and content with their
lives. There were also many sheep and the children watched the sheep
grazing in the field after school. Everyone worked hard and was happy.

One day, a white-bearded old man came with a cart full of freshly
cooked tang yuan.  He opened his mouth and shouted, "Tang yuan for
sale. One dime a bowl and two dimes all you can eat!"

The villagers regardless of age all gathered around this tang yuan
cart. Everyone took out two dimes and brought back what they could not
eat in different sizes of containers.

The first day, all tang yuan were sold quickly. Many people who did not
get a chance to buy surrounded the old man and asked, "Are you coming
back tomorrow?"

The old man replied, "Of course, I'll be back. Such good business!"

The second day, more people came.

The third day, many did not work in the fields and the children did not
watch the sheep either just because they wanted to buy tang yuan.

On the fourth day, every household had a lot of leftover tang yuan.
Even though, they could not eat all they bought and were actually quite
tired of eating them, they still went and bought more tang yuan at the
regular time.

However, no one noticed that a huge block of Yuan Zhi Mountain was
missing. It turned out that the old man appeared in front of the
mountain late at night and blew lightly toward the mountain. Within a
minute, a huge piece of rock fell down and turned into numerous tang

After several days, a young man passed by the village from elsewhere.
He pulled out a dime and bought one bowl of tang yuan. After he
finished it, he was still not quite full. He pulled out another dime
and bought another bowl. After the second bowl, he was still not quite
satisfied so he pulled out one more dime to buy the third bowl. At that
time, the old man asked, "Young man, why should you bother to do this?
You spent three dimes and got three bowls. If you had paid two dimes
the first time, you could have had as many tang yuan as you like. Isn't
that a better deal?"

To the old man's surprise, the young man said, "I only buy what I can eat."

The old man stroked his beard and laugh loudly, "I have been here many
days. I have finally found someone who is not greedy today. I am an
immortal from Heaven. I came down here to find a disciple. Would you
like to follow me and cultivate to be an immortal who is carefree and
will live forever?"

The young man followed the immortal and left.  Afterwards, the old man has never come back to sell tang yuan.

At that time, the villagers started to discover something: Lo and
behold, the smoothly round Yuan Zhi Mountain had lost half of its rock.

*Tang Yuan: Glutinous rice balls that
can have fillings like bean paste, sugar, hawthorn, or all kinds of
fruit.  They can be steamed, boiled, baked or fried.  They
are a must-have item for the Lantern Festival.

Translated from:


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