柴胡

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1992 / 3月

文‧圖.洪義男 圖‧洪義男



1.從前有一個姓胡的進士,他家裡有個僮僕,名叫二慢。

2.有一年秋天,二慢染上忽冷忽熱的瘟病。

3.看樣子,二慢這陣子做不了什麼工作,而且家堹d個病人也是不好事。

4.二慢,家裡用不著你了。你走吧!

5.老爺,您是知道的,我沒有家,也沒有親人,這樣的身子,您叫我上那兒去呢?

6.這與我無關,能幹活兒才有飯吃,怎能留你在我家吃閒飯。

7.這些年我做牛做馬,拚命工作,想不到會落得這種下場。好,我去告訴大家,看人家怎麼說。

8.糟!被其他的僮僕知道了,說不定大家都不肯做事了。

9.二慢呀!你既然生病了,就該找個地方休養幾天。等身體好了再回來,這不是很好嗎?喏,這是工錢,拿去吧!

10.二慢沒辦法,只好離開胡進士家。

11.二慢再也沒有力氣走路,肚子又餓,便用手挖出草根填飽肚子。

12.就這樣,二慢在草堆媢L了七天。七天後手摸到的範圍內的草根都吃光了。

13.沒想到身體突然恢復力氣。

14.二慢又回到胡進士家工作。

15.不久胡進士的獨子也染上瘟病,跟二慢一樣忽冷忽熱。

16.請醫生都看不好!對了!二慢的病不知怎麼治好的?去問問他。

17.你上次生病是吃什麼藥治好的?

18.那次我離開後走到村外的池邊,倒在那兒,又渴又餓,每天吃草根過日子。

19.這些草都是二慢常用來當柴燒火的,胡進士的兒子吃了,病也治好了。

20.用來燒火的「柴」,加上「胡」進士的姓,合起來叫「柴胡」。中藥常用的柴胡,名字就是這樣來的。

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EN

Ch'ai-hu

Hung I-nang /tr. by Peter Eberly


There once was a member of the gentry named Hu who had a servant named Erh-man. One autumn, Erh-man came down with a severe case of the chills and fever. He couldn't do any work, and his master didn't like the idea of having a sick person around the house.

"Erh-man, we can't use you any more," he said. "You'll have to go!"

"But Master, you know I don't have any family or relatives. Where do you expect me to go?"

"That's not my problem. If you can't work, you can't eat. How can I keep feeding you for nothing?"

"I've worked like a horse all these years," Erh-man pleaded, "and I never expected I'd wind up like this. All right, I'll go tell everyone what's happened and see what they say."

"Uh-oh," his master thought. "If the other servants find out about this, who knows, maybe they'll refuse to work anymore."

"Erh-man," he said. "Since you're so sick, you ought to find a place to rest and recuperate and come back when you're feeling better. How's that sound? Now here, take your wages and be off!"

There was nothing he could do but leave.

Erh-man walked and walked until he sank to the ground and could go no farther. He was hungry and dug up some grass with his bare hands to fill his belly. He lay like this for seven days and had eaten all the grass within reach, when suddenly he recovered. Then he returned to his master to work.

Not long afterwards, Hu's only son came down with the chills and fever just as Erh-man had.

"None of the doctors can cure him," Hu thought. "I've got it! I wonder how Erh-man got better? I'll go ask him."

"What kind of medicine did you take to get over your disease?" Hu asked.

"After I left you, I walked next to a pond outside the village and dropped to the ground. I was hungry and thirsty, and I lived on the grass there to get by."

That type of grass was often used by Erh-man as brush for kindling. When Hu's son ate some of it, he was cured.

And that's how the plant got its name, ch'ai-hu. Ch'ai means firewood or kindling, and hu is the name of Erh-man's master. Its English name is Chinese thoroughwax, or Bupleurum Chinese.

 

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