As the village promoted Frost Bamboo, it became increasingly more popular. Not to mention the filming crew that had lived in the village, which had also served as promotion. Hence now, there was a constant stream of people who came not only for the bamboo’s superb taste, but also to visit the bamboo forest and to admire the charms of the farming life. The quick-thinking Xie Dongsheng had been the first to open up a rural tourism spot, benefiting from the village’s popularity.
He had spent a good deal of money recently to renovate his place, making it spick and span. There were full length windows that allowed sunlight to enter, lighting up the room nicely. It eased one’s mind greatly. He also decorated it with some bonsai as well as obtained some special local delicacies. With the help of his son who had studied gastronomy, he enjoyed a constant stream of customers.
People who wanted to eat at his place needed to make a phone reservation.
It was the Dragon Boat Festival today. There was a county-organized dragon boat racing competition not far from One Finger Village. Many people had driven over to watch and coming to his place for a meal in passing was only natural.
The ones that had come today were regular customers who had eaten a few times. They knew Xie Dongsheng had mobility problems, so they were very casual. They would carry the trays themselves and did not need Xie Dongsheng to tend to them.
Xie Dongsheng repaid them by taking less money from them each time. This was quite a silly act, but it was well-received by many patrons, which was an unexpected plus.
When he heard the customers raise the topic, Xie Dongsheng immediately helped Fangzheng, “Fangzheng and many other monks are different. The type of monk you speak of is not as common as you would think. At least, we watched Fangzheng grow up and know that he’s a good kid who knows how to be grateful. Moreover, he is a capable person. Most importantly, One Finger Monastery is really efficacious. Praying for children and stuff like that will ensure a guaranteed hit. Also, you guys know that the best bamboo shoots of our One Finger Village come from the mountaintop. That is really good stuff. Whether you can dig for it depends on Abbot Fangzheng. You can only do so if he permits you.”
“Heh! This monk sure has quite some authority. If you ask me, isn’t that considered a resource of One Finger Village? Why does he have the final say?” a woman complained on One Finger Village’s behalf.
Xie Dongsheng shook his head, “Mt. One Finger was demarcated as One Finger Monastery’s land long ago. Besides” Xie Dongsheng did not continue. Everyone was still puzzled over the origins of the Frost Bamboo on the mountain until this day. Mt. One Finger was only that large. How could they not know what was present on the mountain? Furthermore, although it had been said that One Finger Monastery had been renovated by the village, no one had ever seen any vehicles come and go. How could the villagers not put two and two together? In addition, One Finger Monastery was truly miraculous. It was very efficacious when praying for children. Back when Chen Jin’s house caught fire, his wife and son claimed that it was Fangzheng who saved them. However, there were so many villagers on the mountain, Fangzheng included. Everyone had run down together, yet before they reached the foot of the mountain, Fangzheng was already there? How was that possible? There was only one way down that high mountain. How else could he proceed down the mountain except by flying down?
In addition, there was the matter of someone who had dug bamboo shoots without any consideration having moles grow on his face.
Although the villagers did not say a word, all of them knew deep down that One Finger Monastery was no longer the same monastery as before. Buddha was truly present in it!
Humans were selfish. Having benefited from One Finger Monastery so tremendously, none of them wished for others to take a share of their loot. Therefore, the villagers had subconsciously concealed all of this and never told anyone else. Meanwhile, they showed even greater respect towards Fangzheng and were even more reverent towards One Finger Monastery. As for the Frost Bamboo, no one went to bargain with Fangzheng, because they believed that it was Buddha who bestowed it to One Finger Monastery. Fangzheng had, in turn, shared it with them. They had to be content with their lots, for if they turned greedy, it would turn out tragic if Buddha blamed them!
Therefore, Xie Dongsheng only smiled when he heard the woman. He did not give much of an explanation and instead took out the dumplings, “Sis, you don’t have to dwell on this matter. We are all reasonable people. Mt. One Finger’s ownership was placed under One Finger Monastery several years ago. We can’t just want it back because something good spawns from it. That wouldn’t be reasonable. Besides, Fangzheng is a very nice boy. We have no need to go against him. Come, have some dumplings. Dumplings produced by One Finger Monastery will definitely taste good.”
“They don’t have meat fillings, right? I don’t like them if they aren’t filled with meat,” said the woman somewhat disparagingly. But when the dumplings were placed on the table, she was taken aback.
She saw crystalline dumpling leaves that appeared emerald-green. They shimmered under the sunlight beautifully! These were no dumplings, they were clearly works of art!
It was not just the woman. The others were also astonished.
The man in a flowery shirt marveled, “Hey, the dumpling leaves look really beautiful!”
The woman had just mentioned her dislike of vegetarian dumplings, so she was embarrassed to pick one up. However, she said sourly, “Ordinary dumplings shouldn’t look like this, right? Don’t tell me they have been processed with chemicals?”
A person who was about to extend his hand to take a dumpling immediately froze in his spot.
When the woman saw this, she added, “I’m not shooting off my mouth. Didn’t you hear the news about what happened recently? The news mentioned that dumpling leaves that look especially beautiful on the surface are processed with chemicals and that we should not buy them. If you want to buy any, you should buy those that don’t look overly good.”
“But Mommy, this looks really pretty,” the woman’s son said as he looked at the dumplings covetously.
“What kind of mushrooms in the forest are most poisonous? The prettiest ones! The prettier they are, the more poisonous they are.”
Xie Dongsheng felt pissed hearing her words. His tone sank from his usual chuckling one, “Sis, this was given to me by Venerable Fangzheng and I’m sharing it with all of you. Since you treat it with such contempt, forget it. I’ll keep them for myself.”
With that said, Xie Dongsheng took the dumplings back. He peeled open one dumpling, revealing the glittering Crystal Rice within. At that instant, an especially fragrant smell emitted from it, filling the entire room. Everyone subconsciously drew a gasp. The fragrance was refreshing! How fragrant!
Xie Dongsheng was equally astounded. He only thought that the dumplings had beautiful leaves. He never expected the rice within to be extraordinary too. It was fragrant while being visually pleasing. The fragrance it emitted was not a greasy one, but a special delicate fragrance that left one’s mouth watering.
Xie Dongsheng knew there were remarkable things on Mt. One Finger and naturally did not treat the rice as a chemically processed product. Instead, he took a slight nibble. As it swooshed smoothly in his mouth, it was soon filled with a savory taste. The dumpling was fleshy in texture, and there were bamboo shoots inside. The savoriness of that one mouthful of rice and bamboo shoots seemed to instantly intoxicate him. He subconsciously narrowed his eyes as he quickly stuffed the rest into his mouth.
Following that, ignoring the others, he immediately wrapped his arms around the dumplings like they were treasures and ran off, stuffing them into the freezer.
Upon seeing that, the man in the flowery shirt could not help but ask, “Old Xie, are you alright? Are the dumplings that tasty?”
Xie Dongsheng gave a mysterious smile, “The dumplings are really poisoned Continue eating. I’m going out to take a walk.” However, he was thinking in his mind, “It’s so poisonous that I can’t help myself!”
Xie Dongsheng recalled that Fangzheng had two large buckets of dumplings with him. There were still many dumplings left when Fangzheng came to his place. It was unlikely that Fangzheng had gone far. Getting a few more was the only right thing to do! He had never eaten such delicious dumplings his entire life. It would be a huge loss if he missed this opportunity. He still remembered the Laba Congee. It was delicious, but it was only provided for that day. There was none the next day. He guessed that it would likely be the same with the dumplings. Therefore, it was definitely the smart decision to ask for more.
Xie Dongsheng got his son and wife to take care of the customers as he rushed out to seek Fangzheng.