Squirrel said somewhat unhappily when he heard that, “Junior Brother, can you not pour cold water on us? Master, tell him that it’s real and not fake.”
Fangzheng patted Squirrel on the head, “You guys, why must you fight over this? It’s only a traditional custom. Many a time, some customs from our traditions might not be real, but the moral message behind it is good. As the saying goes, always having hope will bring hope. Sprinkling wormwood water on the body might not be able to cleanse away our bad luck, but it can psychologically suggest to someone’s subconscious that their future will be better. Therefore, as some people become more hopeful and have something to look forward to, the worries and troubles that usually plague them can be attenuated. Their mood will turn better, and they will have something to strive for. Their days will naturally only turn for the better then.”
“Okay. But Master, you are implying that this can’t wash away my bad luck, right?” Squirrel felt somewhat disappointed.
Fangzheng tapped Squirrel in the chest, “It will if you believe, and it won’t if you don’t. Everything stems from the heart. If you are constantly prepared to welcome happiness, you will forever receive happiness. If you are constantly thinking about the misery of your past, you will forever live in misery. Sprinkling water with wormwood is only a way to make you forget your woes and give you a new beginning. Do you not want such a reason?”
Squirrel’s eyes lit up as he said eagerly, “I do! I want it! I want to be happy. I want lots of acorns, lots of Crystal Rice, and lots of delicious foods to eat!”
When Fangzheng heard Squirrel’s grand plan, he realized that all his teachings had gone to the dogs.
Lone Wolf echoed, “I want lots of delicious foods to eat as well!” He was living proof that Fangzheng’s teachings had been useless on a dog
At that moment, a loud series of gongs came from the distance. The noise was followed by countless people cheering as Fangzheng looked up. The teams of a few villages were already on the river. Strong men boarded the dragon boats as they showed their muscles, garnering the sharp screams and cheers from the crowd, as it satisfied their vanity.
Fangzheng immediately led Monkey, Lone Wolf, Squirrel, and Red Boy over.
Fangzheng was famous around the area. Among the people from the surrounding villages, who did not know One Finger Monastery’s abbot? Therefore, many people greeted Fangzheng on the way, to which he returned the courtesy politely. Everyone was very generous, giving Fangzheng a spot with a good view. Fangzheng thanked them once again.
At that moment, Red Boy was browsing on the cell phone when he exclaimed, “Master, what you said isn’t right. Didn’t you say the dragon boat racing competitions stemmed from some clan? But according to the Internet, it stems from Yuanling County trying to summon Panhu, an important dog in Chinese mythology, in the past. There are also stories of commemorating people like Cao E and Wu Zixu. Of course, there is some that talk about commemorating Qu Yuan too. So which one of them is real?”
Fangzheng immediately took away the cell phone and smacked Red Boy on the head, “You rascal, you will be getting a scripture recital the next time you steal my cell phone.”
Red Boy’s face blushed red as he secretly hated himself for being snappy. If he had remained silent, he could have played with the cell phone a little longer. However, Red Boy was a brat after all. But since he was puzzled and because he enjoyed watching Fangzheng feel stumped, he continued asking persistently, “Master, you have to explain it.”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes, “The true history of this custom isn’t even known by historians. How is your master to know? However, there is one thing for certain. It is a traditional festival of us Chinese. It is also a cultural heritage of us Chinese. That is all we need to know. Alright, just watch the dragon boat race. It’s a mystery which team will win today.”
“Master, I think the red team will win. Their boat looks so formidable!” yelped Lone Wolf.
Squirrel said, “Master, I think the blue team will win. They are all large men. Their bodies are rippling with muscles.”
There were a total of five teams. In order to distinguish themselves from each other, each one of them was dressed in differently colored waist bands. They were red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. The live commentator would also use their colors to mention them. This made it easy to distinguish the teams. As a small-scale regional competition, the dragon boats were not particularly huge. They were eighteen meters long and could fit thirty-two people. These people were known as rowers.
Dragon boat racing did not originate from the northeastern parts of China but came from the south. The dragon boats the locals had were in no way special. They could be commonly seen on the market, with a dragon head at the bow and a dragon tail at the rear. The drummer was in front, and all the rowers would listen to the drumbeat and row the book according to the rhythm. In the boat’s rear sat the steersman.
Upon seeing this, Fangzheng recalled the dragon racing competitions of minorities on the Internet. They each had something unique about them, making them all very distinct. However, he had no chance to watch those. He was content with the race in front of him.
Fangzheng looked at the strongmen and ignored the animals’ questions as he silently watched the bustle.
When the gunshot sounded to signify the beginning of the race, the five teams began using all their strength. The dragon boats seemed as if they were flying as they accelerated across the water surface, leaving white wavy streaks in their wake! The crowd cheered on both sides of the bank. Everyone was basically cheering for his or her own village’s team.
Of course, there were others who were shouting randomly such as the animals beside Fangzheng.
“You can do it, Red Team! Aiyah! The Yellow Team is chasing up. Yellow Team, you can do it!”
“The Red Team is falling behind. Haha! Yellow Team, all the best! Aiyah! The Yellow Team has been overtaken. You can do it, Red Team!”
Fangzheng’s head nearly blew up from hearing that. He smacked Lone Wolf and Squirrel on the head, “Can’t the both of you just stand there and cheer without creating chaos? One moment it’s the Red Team and another moment it’s the Yellow Team. What kind of random shouting is this?”
Squirrel felt wronged, “I was just hoping for them to win. I don’t care who wins as long as the one I cheer for wins.”
Lone Wolf also said, “I obviously support the strong. I support whoever is winning.”
Fangzheng was rendered speechless.
But let’s turn time back to the moment when Fangzheng was handing out dumplings.
When Fangzheng’s foot just stepped out of a farmer’s home, a questioning voice sounded from a household.
“Old Xie, who was that just now?”
The only person who had a leg disability in One Finger Village was Xie Dongsheng. He was given the nickname Lame Xie. As he looked at the dumpling in his hand, he smiled, “It was One Finger Monastery’s abbot, Venerable Fangzheng. He gave out dumplings because of today’s festival.”
“What? A monk even gives villagers stuff? This This is truly odd. I have seen many monasteries who only receive but never give.” As he spoke, the man dressed in a flowery shirt walked out. He then returned back in to scoop a bowl of rice.
Xie Dongsheng limped in after him. Inside the room, by thekang1, there was a large table. There was also another round table in the room at which was fully occupied by guests.
Xie Dongsheng had turned crippled a long time ago but despite his disability, his will remained strong. Since he could not earn money physically, he earned his keep with his brains. Although people laughed at him for trying to use his brains despite being illiterate, he finally found a way to live. He had set up an online store on the Internet. Although business was not great, it was enough for him to provide for his family.