1993 / 2月
Hung I-nang /tr. by Peter Eberly
1. There was once a rich man who was fond of rabbits and raised for amusement.
2. "Look after them carefully, Ah Chi," he said. "If any of them dies, it'll be deducted from your pay."
3. One day Ah Chi accidentally dropped a stick that landed on a rabbit right across its lower back.
4. "Uh-oh!" he exclaimed.
5. Scared stiff, he quickly hid the rabbit in a bean patch.
6. A couple of days later, the rich man noticed that a rabbit was missing and took Ah Chi roundly to task.
7. Ah Chi had no choice but to go to the bean patch and look for the rabbit.
8. "The rabbit is tearing around," he said. "It must have eaten something."
9. "Huh? How does an injured rabbit have the energy to run around like that? That's really weird."
10. Ah Chi tried to grab the rabbit, but it hopped around so much he couldn't.
11. He went home and told his father what had happened.
12. His father had been severely beaten by the rich man a few months earlier. His lower back hurt him so much he couldn't get out of bed.
13. "I'd like to know what that rabbit ate," his father said. "Maybe it'd be good for my back."
14. Ah Chi struck another rabbit across the back and put it in the bean patch to see what would happen.
15. At first, the rabbit couldn't move. It stretched its neck and nibbled the seeds of a yellow plant that clung to a bean stalk.
16. After three or four days, the rabbit was up and about.
17. "Hey! If the seeds of that plant could heal the rabbit's back, they could have the same effect on people," his father said. "Go pick some and cook them into a medicine for me to drink."
18. The father drank the concoction. A few days later he could get out of bed and move around.
19. Two months later, he was able to work in the fields.
20. Ah Chi left the rich man's house and devoted himself to gathering seeds and making them into medicine, which he distributed to people suffering from back pain.
21. Because of this story, the herb is called t'u-szu-tzu, or Rabbit's Thread, in Chinese. Its English name is dodder seed.
Appearance: A wild trailing plant belonging to the Convolvulaceae family. Its seeds are used in medicine.
Properties: Sweet and pungent in flavor, mild natured, nontoxic.
Effectiveness: Cures lower back pain and persistent thirst, improves eyesight, builds muscles, increases vigor.
(To be used by prescription only.)