Recently, the common people had a new topic to discuss, nowadays there were more and more new things——first there was a wave of new refugees arriving and there was quite a lot of people. As far as the eye could see outside the city it was all filled with people. They had thought it would be the same as before, the lords and officials would not let the refugees inside. After all, the common people were afraid that the refugees would come harm them if they were let in.
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Strangely enough, however, the refugees came and were let into the city, but it was as if they hadn’t come at all!
The refugees did not steal their things, did not harass their daughters, and did not rob passers-by in places where no one was there to catch them.
The newcomers were very well-behaved. They finally found a place that was willing to accept them so everyone was obedient and well-behaved to the extreme, lest they made a mistake and was driven out. And it wasn’t just one person being driven out. If anyone made a mistake then those with the same surname among the refugees would also be driven out.
Now when they heard this, there wasn’t even any need for the soldiers to supervise them. This group of people voluntarily began to supervise each other.
If it was found that anyone had any bad intentions——they were all of refugee backgrounds so it was not possible to conceal it from the others——then they would take care of that person privately.
After giving him a beating until he couldn’t move, don’t mention doing bad things, just walking would become a problem.
If it weren’t for the fact that the officials would come asking if a dead person showed up they might even be able to commit murder.
These people were quickly incorporated into different professions.
Most of them had gone to serve the livestock, raising pigs, cattle and sheep. After all, many of these people had farming origins. Even if they had never raised livestock in their own households, they would have definitely raised it for the landowner’s family. With work to do, their worries eased and they felt that they were now the South Bodhisattva’s people.
They now had a household registration and were no longer refugees.
This was their new “home”.
They planned to take root on this land and never leave “home” again.
The common people were also very curious about these newcomers. They all lived well under the rule of the South Bodhisattva. After more than two years, there was basically nothing to worry about. There was food and work, and sometimes their “work unit” would organize community activities. During the holidays, they would go fishing or play football with friends and family and coworkers. It was as if those years when they couldn’t fill their stomachs had passed them by for a long time.
But these newcomers told them of the life outside.
More and more people had become refugees. They were like headless flies, not knowing where to go or what to do. Sometimes they could find bark to eat, sometimes there wasn’t even that. Rumors also reached them that in some places, there were even some people who had to secretly resort to cannibalizing their own children.
“Ai, they are really pitiful.”
When the people heard these things, they all sighed.
There were also innocent children who asked: “They have such miserable lives, why don’t they come over here?”
“Yeah, why don’t they come? I can share my dried sweet potato strips with them, I’ll share……en……a handful!”
“Your sweet potato strips have all been eaten already! All the ones you have now are from me! When will you pay me back!”
The children were very forgetful. They had already forgotten the difficult days from before and only remembered the days after Lin Yuan arrived.
Now they only helped out with chores at home on holidays, as they usually were at school. Sometimes when adults asked them what they learned in school, they would count them out happily.
“I learned three words today! I remember them all!”
“I can count to a hundred!”
Their faces were filled with the innocent happiness that was exclusive to children and something that adults could no longer feel. Children would feel great joy for a toy or a praise, but adults would not.
But the people were very willing to have their children go to school, even if the family needed extra hands to help with work.
Because after studying, even if they only came away literate, these children would find better jobs in the future.
Education was not an elegant thing in the eyes of the people.
On the contrary, education was a means of promotion and resulted in tangible benefits for the common people.
They would not spout the words and teachings of sages and wise men, nor would they trust everything written in the books. They only looked at the benefits and gains.
This was really……
“It’s really great.” Lin Yuan said to Song Shizhao, with a smile on his face.
Song Shizhao looked at Lin Yuan’s smiling face in a daze. He had seen Lin Yuan smile more than once. Lin Yuan was a person who loved to smile, but his smile was always gentle and distant. It was a ceremonial smile, a perfunctory smile, like a statue of a Buddha. There was no personal emotions or feelings attached to it, but just a smile for the sake of smiling.
But now, Lin Yuan’s eyebrows were practically flying and his smile came from the heart like that of a true young man.
However, Song Shizhao was also a traditional scholar after all. He really looked down upon the people who had their children go study for the motive of gaining benefits. In his opinion, if one did not learn truths and wisdom from studying then it was better not to study in the first place.
Lin Yuan also saw Song Shizhao’s unhappiness. He asked Song Shizhao, “Why did you study?”
Song Shizhao proudly yet reservedly said: “For the sake of the kingdom’s unity, for the common people to live and work in peace and contentment.”
Lin Yuan laughed at him: “What then?”
Song Shizhao paused.
Lin Yuan: “You want fame, what you want is reputation.”
“The people want less than you. They don’t want fame, but for their children to live better in the future.”
“Mister.” Lin Yuan said, “If one place all their faith in books then it is better to have no books at all.”
Suddenly, Song Shizhao had a feeling of the clouds and mist being pulled away from his eyes. His expression was momentarily stunned, and then he quickly came back to himself. He bowed in a respectful manner: “I’m not as good as Boss.”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “Mister, it’s just that we stand at different angles.”
Song Shizhao, who had left the government office, walked on the road. The streets were bustling with people. The people were buying daily necessities. He saw a shrewdish woman bargaining with the vendors, vigorously enough she became red in the face. Judging from the brisk pace when she left, she had definitely won that haggle. When Song Shizhao arrived at the door to his home he was smiling unconsciously.
Seeing Song Shizhao’s return, the doorman quickly said: “Laoye! Someone came over in the afternoon and said that he wanted to see you. Since you were not at home he said he will come back tomorrow.”
Song Shizhao nodded: “Do you recognize him?”
The doorman shook his head: “I don’t know him. He is a young man in his early twenties. He speaks the official language with a northern accent.”
Song Shizhao thought for a while, but didn’t recall any such person. He said, “I’ll leave it for tomorrow.”
Then Song Shizhao went to his study. He was feeling rather restless and he had to practice his calligraphy to settle his mind.
While writing, he recalled what Lin Yuan said to him.
He finally understood.
What he saw and what Lin Yuan saw was completely different!
He saw only the “scholar”, a scholar’s strength of character over these thousands of years! He saw the truth, morality, and the teachings left by the great sages!
But the Boss looked only at the people, and “scholars” were just tools for Boss. They had their places and what they could and should do.
Song Shizhao recalled what he had heard of the lectures given by teachers in the school.
They taught those children literacy and then taught them to read, which was completely different from the formal education received by scholars like himself.
They did not tell the children what was right or wrong.
They let the children see and think for themselves, and then had them come to an understanding by themselves.
Were the students taught in this way still the “scholars” of the past?
Would they still hold the books of sages as a golden rule like those scholars?
Song Shizhao suddenly shuddered.
But after the chill, he suddenly felt his blood boiling in excitement!
Lin Yuan wanted to establish a new order and new rules!
Song Shizhao’s hands were shaking with excitement, and he couldn’t write the words anymore. If one stroke was wrong, then the whole word would become useless.
Why did he still live on this earth? Why didn’t he die while displaced as a refugee?
It was all for today! All to stay next to the South Bodhisattva and watch him change heaven and earth!
He wondered what kind of expressions the “scholars” of the world would show when they discover this?
He was too curious! He really wanted to see it personally!
Compared with Song Shizhao, the teachers at the school were the most affected and received the most shock. They were all traditional scholars, and most of them did not come from rich families. After all, studying was not productive, and they could only rely on their families to support them before they gained a position as an official. And brush, ink, paper, inkstone, and books all costed a lot of money. Not to mention that in order to study they must find a teacher which also costed money. Most families could only cultivate one scholar, and it might not even be possible to cultivate one that could become an official.
After all, in order for the Han people to become officials they must pass the imperial examinations. But could all scholars in this world be officials?
So as the family cultivated a scholar, it often turned into a failed investment.
An originally financially comfortable family could easily be dragged down by the expense of cutlivating a scholar.
So after these scholars saw no hope of becoming officials, they could only become teachers in order to make a living.
They would also gather together to discuss major events and matters of the kingdom, all feeling that they were very talented and intelligent. It was like this until the South Bodhisattva suddenly appeared, and they suddenly became the South Bodhisattva’s “people”.
At first, when the South Bodhisattva met them and asked them to teach, some of them didn’t understand——how could there be a right and wrong way of teaching? Could the South Bodhisattva be better at teaching than they themselves?
Then, the South Bodhisattva had people give teaching lessons to these scholars.
They all said that at first.
They wanted to persuade the South Bodhisattva, to tell him that what the scholars studied was the truths and morals of the world!
The South Bodhisattva just smiled and listened to them. When they finally exhausted themselves, the South Bodhisattva replied with an expression of repentance: “It is because Yuan was not thoughtful and made it difficult for you all. How about this, since you all feel that teaching like this is not acceptable, then let’s go and see how the common people live.”
After that they were sent to farm land and take care of livestock.
Even the poorest of them had never lived like this.
Just when they were at a loss, the South Bodhisattva had someone invite them back.
The South Bodhisattva said to them: “What you knew of the common people were from books and what others told you.”
“Now that you have become one of the common people yourself, you now know what the common people are like.”
“They are more easily contented than you, and while they don’t think about the world, this world is made up of them. Without them, you would not have enough food to fill your stomachs and peace to live your days. Your brush, ink, paper and inkstone ultimately are created by them.”
“You look down on the common people, but do you know that without the people you are nothing?”
“Now, are you willing to teach?” The South Bodhisattva looked at them with a smile.
They finally lowered their heads. Don’t know who moved first but when they had all realized it, they found themselves kneeling before the South Bodhisattva.
“We are willing to follow my lord.”
There were more and more literate children.
They would become a new force, a new pillar of society.
However, the most happy and exciting thing for the common people recently was that the South Bodhisattva was going to tour the land and visit the common people. This was a new thing. Although some emperors visited the common people before, it was really an excuse to go out traveling and have fun, often bringing along many song girls and beauties. Their version of visiting the common people was to just have each place build temporary palaces and then arrive at the palaces to have fun.
Officials from all over the country would also take the wealth and daughters of the common people and present them to the emperor.
There was no need to return the wealth.
As for the daughters……although most of them were returned to their families, as women who had lost their chastity, their future would only be accompanied by the Buddha at a nunnery for a lifetime.
But the people believed that the South Bodhisattva would not do this.
They had a kind of trust in Lin Yuan that even Lin Yuan himself felt bewildered by.
The people believed that Lin Yuan was a god, a god who loved the people. This was a profound and magnanimous love. He had no selfish desires, and because he had no selfish desires naturally there wouldn’t be any material desires.
Because everything in this world belonged to him, and since it belonged to him, he could do whatever he wanted in this world.
Lin Yuan’s tour was so that he could give the people more confidence.
At the same time, it was also to win the hearts of the people.
When he left the government office, he didn’t take too many people with him. Only Chen Baisong and a small team of soldiers followed along to protect him.
“The South Bodhisattva is here! I see them!” The young boy ran home quickly.
He had put on new clothes today. Wearing new clothes on days other than the New Year was something that had never happened before. His hands were dirty and he dared not touch his clothes. The adults in the family also put on their most presentable clothes as well.
Today, the South Bodhisattva was coming to their village, and every household had made preparations in advance.
They cleaned up the house very clean, it had never been so clean before!
The young child was hugged by his mother and placed on her lap. There was a kang at home. The kang was so big that everyone in the family could sleep on it. (TN: kang=a heatable brick bed)
They could buy coal now. He heard from his mother that when he was younger, the family couldn’t afford firewood at all, let alone coal. They could only go up the mountains to cut firewood themselves, but all the nearest trees were all cut and if they went deeper into the mountains they could encounter wild beasts.
So the family always had to endure the freezing cold every winter.
His older brother had frozen to death.
His mother said that she was holding his older brother, but when she opened her eyes the next morning, his older brother was already gone.
Fortunately, the South Bodhisattva came, otherwise he might have fallen asleep on a certain night just like his older brother and never opened his eyes again.
Not only people from their village, but even people from neighboring villages came. Especially those with relatives in their village, they had already arrived when they heard the news a few days earlier.
Then yesterday some soldiers came to seal the village, but the soldiers also told them that if too many came, it would be difficult to distinguish between loyal citizens and traitors.
The people all felt that this was the right thing to do!
When Lin Yuan and his people arrived, he saw the villagers standing on the roadside. If it weren’t for the fact that they were wearing cloth robes and didn’t pull up banners, Lin Yuan would almost think he had traveled back to the modern times.
Lin Yuan first went to a family with the surname Li. There were six people in this family. The eldest son had married a wife who gave birth to three daughters.
The younger son had not yet married a wife.
Lin Yuan first asked about their lives.
Li Sanyi was very nervous. He had never been so nervous in his life. The most important official he had ever had contact with was the village head. Never in his wildest imaginations did he expect to see the South Bodhisattva one day. How could he have known that the South Bodhisattva would one day sit opposite him, on the kang where he usually sat?
The heavens above, he never thought that the South Bodhisattva’s buttocks would sit in the same place as his buttocks had sat in before.
Li Sanyi’s heart almost jumped to his throat.
He stammered and said: “This year’s harvest is good. I, my family have a good life. We are not hungry, and there are more farmable lands being opened. The harvest next year will definitely be better than this year’s!”
He even subconciously flattered: “It’s all the blessing of the South Bodhisattva. Only after you came did we have a good life.”
Li Sanyi saw the young and handsome man in front of him smiling at him. In an instant, Li Sanyi’s face flushed red and he lowered his head, not daring to look directly at the other.
He heard the other say: “That’s good. If you have any inconvenience or issue, go find village head. But if the village head refuses to solve it, then go find the county magistrate.”
Li Sanyi quickly said: “Our village head is a good man, he is very good……”
The other chuckled: “Then that’s good.”
On the same day, Lin Yuan visited every family in this village. These villagers were very excited. They were all very eager to tell Lin Yuan about the changes their lives had undergone.
“Our family used to eat chaff! And only when the year is good will there be chaff!”
The village woman had endless words: “Now there are sweet potatoes to eat, endless sweet potatoes!”
Lin Yuan smiled as he listened to her. He didn’t think that these villagers were uncouth. In truth, uncouth people were not necessarily bad people, and people who understood etiquette and morality were not necessarily good people. But most of the world was made up of uncouth people.
They didn’t know profound truths and moral teachings, but they knew how to cultivate the land and how to make the whole family live better.
They struggle to live, but perhaps even they didn’t know how much value they could create.
The news of Lin Yuan’s tour of the common people flew to all the towns under his rule as if on wings.
The people talked about it happily.
“I heard them say that the South Bodhisattva is very handsome!”
“I also heard that the South Bodhisattva is very handsome! I heard that whenever he glances at you, whether you are a man or a woman, your face will definitley blush.”
“Yah, then that must be really handsome!”
“If I had not been born twenty years early, I would have gone and recommend myself already!”
“You? Even 20 years younger you don’t look like much.”
As a result, the big households in each city inexplicably began to offer beauties to Lin Yuan. They would offer their own daughters and if their wives were good-looking, they would even offer their wives. Some people took a different approach, thinking that maybe the South Bodhisattva preferred male sex and even offered young and beautiful boys to Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan laughed and accepted them all. The women would act as maids, and the young men would act as manservants.
Originally, he had already felt that there were too few people in the government office. But it was not like he could go around recruiting or buying people now. So this perfectly alleviated his urgent need.
However, in order to make the people feel at ease, he still kept two of the best looking of them by his side, but as his attendants, one man and one woman. The woman was very beautiful. She was like the morning dew and the stars in the night sky. Her eyes were like autumn lakes, and even when frowning, people would not be able to help but want to ask her why she was sad.
The man was also very beautiful. It was a beauty of a man on the cusp between a teenager and a young man. He was very good-looking with long and slender limbs, skin as delicate and white as jade. Lin Yuan once saw him smile at Er Liang and Er Liang’s eyes when looking at him instantly became like that of someone looking at the lover of his dreams.
Sure enough, so long as the person was beautiful, people didn’t care whether they were a man or a woman at all.
In fact it was quite common for the gongzi of aristocratic and wealthy families to have a few male lovers.
And there were countless people who also kept actors.
The ancients sometimes also had no integrity.
The woman was called Liu Yi and she played the guqin very well. She didn’t talk much, but because of her beauty, she was very pleasing to the eyes. At first, Lin Yuan wanted her to help with some proper work, but later found out that this was a dumb beauty——she was a song and dance entertainer. Because she was beautiful, she had been sold or passed around since she was a child. Every man who gained possession of her originally hid her in the inner courtyard, but whenever they needed help from more pwerful people, they would still send her away as a bribe.
Liu Yi was beautiful and her beauty was the foundation of her livelihood. Beauty allowed her to live a better life than ordinary people. But this beauty had also caused her to suffer. The wives and concubines and maids in the households of the men who bought her hated her. Taking advantage of the male master’s absence, they would always make her kneel and she would end up kneeling for whole days on end.
Liu Yi knew that they were jealous of her, and the more they were jealous the happier she was.
Because she made a living on this, and the education she received was only on how to please men. She was a common victim of this era.
Rather than describe her as an individual perhaps it was more accurate to describe her as a vase, a portrait, something that men liked to collect and show off.
The only thing that could not be used to describe her was an independent and dignified person.
Liu Yi felt that the South Bodhisattva was different from all the men. When he looked at her, he also had admiration in his eyes, but he didn’t touch her nor did he have sex with her. Sometimes Liu Yi even felt that the South Bodhisattva pitied her.
This was a novel experience for Liu Yi and she came to like the South Bodhisattva even more.
She followed behind the South Bodhisattva as his attendant. Her beauty amazed all who saw her, but because of the South Bodhisattva, people did not dare to look at her directly.
Liu Yi felt very comfortable.
As for the other person, Chu Lin, he was different from Liu Yi. He was a gongzi of a big and wealthy family. He had the pride of being a gongzi of a big, influential family. He also looked down on Liu Yi despite being in the same situation as Liu Yi now. He would often try to talk to Lin Yuan, let Lin Yuan discover his talent.
With these two people at his side, Lin Yuan found that fewer people urged him to get married.
The people felt that the South Bodhisattva did not need to get married too early if he didn’t want to. So long as he had a sex life and had his needs being taken care of then that was enough.
And the South Bodhisattva could be with both men and women. Didn’t this lend further proof to his universal love?
Lin Yuan: “???”
Probably with Lin Yuan as a role model many merchants and wealthy people had begun to look for male lovers.
They actually felt that having a male lover was very good——women were physically weaker after all, and people who lived pampered lives would often feel tired when they move even a little. But with a male lover they could be better served on the bed. They didn’t even need to do much of the work themselves.
It was truly too good, too considerate.
As for the male lovers, most of them were their domestic servants or servants bought from outside.
When Lin Yuan heard this, he was struck into a stupor.
He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So he could only have people post a notice saying that so long as one had the strength and worked hard, he could live without having to sell himself.
However, there were still good-looking men who would recommend themselves to large wealthy families.
And the men who had already become “lovers” were not willing to go to work.
They felt that this kind of life was very good.
Although they were bedded, they had food and drink. And if the master’s inner courtyard had women who were lonely, they could also cop a feel.
No need to work!
Fortunately, there were only a few good-looking men, otherwise Lin Yuan would really become anxious.
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He felt that in the future, he might not only have to protect women from being violated, but also protect good-looking men from the same.
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