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Stories by Bai Jingxue

白景學 講於2000年4月8日星期六,父親往生一週年紀念 Spoken By Upasaka Bai JingXue on saturday, April 8, 2002, the first anniversay of his father's passing
楊果閎 英譯 English Translation by Yang Kuo-Hung







Burning an envelope to call back my spirit

Once, I went to the west hall of our house to help wrap dumplings. In Manchuria, people always help each other wrap dumplings before Chinese New Year; one hardly becomes tired when over twenty people talk and joke while wrapping dumplings together. We wrapped dumplings using more than 100 kgs of flour and took them outside to freeze. After they were frozen, we would keep them in a big crock, and that would be our food for the twelfth and first months of the lunar calendar. The family occupying the west hall was named Kao. I helped to wrap dumpling at his house till past eleven at night. It was very dark then. I passed by the east hall, where a family by the surname of Bai (who were my relatives) lived. They had two dogs, but the dogs didn't bite or bark at me. It was very dark and I couldn't see clearly. These two dogs were lying in the passageway, and I stepped on the stomach of one of them by accident.

I didn't feel anything wrong then, but the next day I could neither get up nor eat. My father felt my pulse and asked, “What did you see last night?” I replied that I saw nothing. My father said, “No. You must have seen something strange.” I thought about it, and recalled that I stepped on the dog. That night, when the stars were out and I was asleep, my father got out an envelope that was sent from afar, burnt it, wrapped it up with a paper and put it under my pillow. The next day, I could get up and eat.

How did I get that sickness? I couldn't get out of bed, my pulse was weak, I had no strength at all and I couldn't eat. I couldn't even discern what others were saying. If I had consulted a doctor then, he wouldn't have been able to do anything either. My father burnt an envelope and brought my spirit back to life when my pulse was almost gone. I was fourteen then. My father was compassionate and saved my life; this is something that left a deep impression on me, even till today.

Lin Biao's eyebrows

It was not until the Cultural Revolution that we started having television sets in Manchuria, and many people liked to watch TV then. The The TV showed Lin Biao and Mao Zedong receiving the millions of Red Soldiers at Beijing's Tiananmen Square. My father did not like watching TV or listening to radio. Usually, he didn't like such things. However, that day he was in high spirits and said, “Let me see what's this is about!” and he saw Lin Biao. He said, “Lin Biao's eyebrows are strange; he will become a thief someday.” We were all terrified at his words. If the Red Soldiers heard this, we would be arrested. My father said, “I'm not afraid of that.” Eventually, Lin Biao indeed became a thief who betrayed his country. He escaped in a plane that crashed in Mongolia. It may be that the plane had some mechanical problem, or maybe it was struck down by some missiles. So Lin Biao died and went to meet Karl Marx! My father knew beforehand that he would be a treacherous official who would betray his country.


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