The Talking City God

The magical city god

During the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty, Huizhou scholar Zhao Mingbo and his classmate Wang Kexia passed the Jinshi examination together, and were appointed by the court to serve as officials in Huanghuai Mansion. One was appointed as the magistrate of Mangdang County, and the other was appointed as the magistrate of Guhuang County.

The day before taking office, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang summoned all the scholars who were selected to take office and held a farewell ceremony for them all at the Chenghuang Temple in the southwest of the capital. It was an unprecedented rare event for the emperor to see off officials who were taking office for the first time, so the surroundings of the Chenghuang Temple were filled with people watching the excitement.

In the City God's Temple, the scholars who were about to take office had already gathered. The statue of the City God was shining with golden light, and everyone was quietly waiting for the emperor's arrival. Half an hour later, the emperor arrived, surrounded by a group of officials, and the scholars all knelt down to thank him. Zhu Yuanzhang climbed onto the high platform covered with red carpet and asked everyone to level up.

After a while, Zhu Yuanzhang said: "Dear dear friends, you are about to take office. Do you know why I am here to bid farewell to you?" This is the City God’s Temple, dedicated to the City God! The City God is my protector! I was born in the City God's Temple back then, and it was the City God who blessed me to ascend to the throne of the Emperor step by step! Do you know what I hate most? It's because of corrupt officials and their exploitation that I didn't even have a home when I was born! I swore to the City God back then that I would kill all corrupt officials in my lifetime and let the people live a good life! When you take office, you will be the father-in-law of the common people. I hope that you will swear an oath in front of the City God to be an honest official! Nowadays, every prefecture and county has built a temple of the City God. On every first and fifteenth day of the lunar month, you must go to worship the God of the City God. If anyone commits corruption and perverts the law, he will definitely not be able to escape the eyes of the City God. I want to say something first today: Those who know the law and break it will be shot without mercy! &rdquoAfter saying this, he motioned for everyone to kowtow to the City God.

All the scholars paid homage to the City God and swore an oath. Zhao Mingbo took a sneak peek at the statue of the City God, and what he saw surprised him. The City God's face was calm, but his eyes were "gurgling", as if he wanted to see into people's hearts. Are there really gods in the world? Zhao Mingbo was full of doubts.

After the oath was taken, Zhou Quanfeng, the minister of etiquette who accompanied the emperor, delivered a speech at the emperor's instruction: "My colleagues, you have studied hard in the cold window, and now your long-cherished wish has come true." Being an official will bring benefits to one party. I hope that everyone can be able to serve the country and the people…

Everyone looked up and saw laughter coming from the City God. Zhou Quanfeng's expression changed drastically and he stammered: "City…hellip…City God…Master, you…hellip…what are you laughing at…?" ” Zhao Mingbo was very surprised and stared at the City God’s reaction. The eyes of the City God moved, and the corners of his mouth opened and closed: "A corrupt official who has violated the law still has the nerve to tell the officials who have taken office that he is honest and upright?" Man is doing it, but God is watching. All corrupt and illegal things can never escape the eyes of God! Zhou Quanfeng, please confess and obey the law! &rdquo

Zhou Quan's face was earth-colored and his whole body was like chaff, but his mouth was still tough: "City God… Lord… Lord!" You…hellip…hellip can't…speak bloody words! This officer…hellip…hellipWhat…when did you take bribes…hellip…wrong the law? &rdquo

"Hahaha" the city god laughed and said, "If you are upright, you are not afraid of a slanted shadow. If you are not corrupt and perverting the law, what are you afraid of?" It seems that you won’t shed tears until you see the coffin. Since the emperor is here, I will convince you! Last autumn, the magistrate of Lishui County in Yingtian Prefecture gave you 10,000 taels of silver to promote you to an official position. At the end of winter, when your nephew came from your hometown, you arranged for him to join the Ministry of Rites as an official. At the end of the year, there were three Yingtian Prefecture officials who each paid you 5,000 taels of silver…chenghuang Before God could finish speaking, Zhou Quanfeng collapsed to the ground.

Useless City God

On the way to take office, Wang Kexia asked Zhao Mingbo if he believed that the City God could really catch corrupt officials? Although Zhao Mingbo was dubious, he couldn't help but nodded as he thought of his original intention of becoming an official.

Wang Kexia laughed and said: "Where in the world are there any gods?" If the City God is so powerful, why are there so many corrupt officials in the world? As the saying goes, "Being an official for thousands of miles is all about food and clothing." This has been true in all dynasties. If you can't get any benefits, who would still want to be an official? The emperor played the trick of City God to capture Zhou Quanfeng in order to give us a warning not to take it seriously. &rdquo

"If it's a trick, why do the City God's eyes move?" Who said that? How did others know about Zhou Quanfeng's corruption and perversion of the law? ” Zhao Mingbo expressed his doubts. Wang Kexia was amused and said sarcastically: "Brother Zhao, are you really stupid?" Can't you see such a simple problem? As long as you find a juggler, get into the belly of the City God, do some tricks, move your eyes, and twist your mouth, it is naturally not difficult. The evidence of Zhou Quanfeng's corruption and perversion of the law must have been discovered by the emperor in advance and then revealed through the mouth of the City God. &rdquoAlthough what Wang Kexia said made sense, Zhao Mingbo still felt that the matter would not be that simple. In order to dispel Zhao Mingbo's concerns, Wang Kefu bought a wooden carving of the City God on the road. He pinched and beat it every day, and from time to time said that if the City God was really a god, he would probably have an attack long ago.

Half a month after taking office, local official Liu Fuyin of Huanghuai Prefecture celebrated his birthday. According to the custom, the county magistrate should pay a visit to celebrate his birthday. Zhao Mingbo couldn't come up with anything decent, so he had to write a couplet and send it as a congratulatory gift. Because the case of the City God catching corruption kept popping up in his mind, Zhao Mingbo had always been fair, just and reasonable in his work as an official, and he had not made any mistakes for half a year. However, he clearly felt that the governor of Huanghuai Mansion always gave him little shoes to wear. Few officials interacted with him, and even his friend Wang Kexia didn't like him very much. The yamen has a lot of affairs, and Zhao Mingbo is busy until late every day. But no matter how busy he was, he never failed to pay homage to the City God on the first and fifteenth day of the lunar month.

One morning, while Zhao Mingbo was reviewing official documents, a government official came to report that a fisherman was fishing in the Yellow River and a dead body was pulled up in his fishing net. Zhao Mingbo did not dare to neglect and hurriedly led people to the scene of the accident. The body of the deceased was swollen and his features had rotted away. An autopsy report showed that the deceased was a young man aged 17 or 18. He was suffocated to death and then thrown into the Yellow River. He died about three days ago.

To catch the murderer, the identity of the deceased must be known. Based on the clothes and body shape of the deceased, Zhao Mingbo ordered the government officials to post a notice identifying the corpse in the county. But for three days, not only did no one identify the body, not even any information about the deceased was found. In order to solve the case as soon as possible, Zhao Mingbo issued a reward announcement. Anyone who provides information about the deceased will receive twenty taels of silver.

In the evening of that day, Zhao Mingbo was worrying about the case. An old man asked to see him and said that the deceased was called Huang Lin, an ancient person from a neighboring county. His parents died early and he and his sister depended on each other. In order to earn money to find a wife for her younger brother, my elder sister went to work as a maid in the house of Governor Liu, but unexpectedly she died three months later. Fu Yin's family said she accidentally fell into the well and drowned. Huang Lin heard somewhere that her sister resisted Mr. Fu Yin's rape and was strangled to death by Mr. Fu Yin and thrown into the well. Mr. Liu gave away the money, but Huang Lin disagreed and went to the Guhuang County Yamen to file a complaint, but was beaten with a stick by the county magistrate Wang Kexia. He refused to accept it and went to the capital to complain. As soon as he left, he disappeared without a trace and unexpectedly died in the Yellow River. Zhao Mingbo asked the old man how he knew the news. The old man said that he was Huang Lin's neighbor. He went to visit relatives at his daughter's house in Mangdang County today and found out that Huang Lin was dead.

Zhao Mingbo took out twenty taels of silver, but the old man did not accept it. Instead, he knelt on the ground and begged him with tears to seek justice for Huang Lin. After sending the old man away, Zhao Mingbo fell into deep thought. The only one who could redress the grievances of Huang Lin and his brother was the City God.

The real city god

The next day, it was the fifteenth day. Zhao Mingbo had breakfast and was about to pay homage to the City God. Unexpectedly, his classmate Wang Kexia came to visit. Zhao Mingbo invited Wang Kexia to go with him. Wang Kexia was not happy, saying that a friend came from afar, but the host was going out. How was this the way to treat guests? Zhao Mingbo couldn't resist, so he had to stay.

The two chatted while drinking tea. Wang Kexia teased Zhao Mingbo for being pedantic. The City God was just a statue. Even if he paid homage every day, it would be of no use. If it was as powerful as the City God Temple saw, then why would so many officials be needed?

While chatting, Wang Kexia suddenly changed the subject and asked Zhao Mingbo if there were any clues about the corpses fished out of the Yellow River. Zhao Mingbo was moved in his heart, shook his head and said there was no news. Wang Kexia chuckled: "Judging from his clothes and appearance, who is suppressing the Yellow River Ghost Incident ? This person is very similar to Huang Lin, a cunning citizen of our county. He falsely accused Lord Fu Yin's son, and after being kicked out of the Yamen, he disappeared without a trace. Thinking that he had stumbled and fell into the Yellow River, it was his own fault. &rdquo

Zhao Mingbo was silent for a moment and tentatively said: "The autopsy showed that he did not drown to death, but suffocated to death first and then was thrown into the Yellow River. This matter is not as simple as you said." "Wang Kexia's expression changed slightly when he heard this, and he quickly regained his composure: "Brother, please don't delve into this matter. The one Huang Lin falsely accused was Mr. Fu Yin's son. Mr. Fu Yin determines our future and destiny. We cannot afford to offend him. Besides, Huang Lin's sister and brother are dead, and there is no evidence of their deaths, so the matter can only be left alone. &rdquo

Needless to say, Wang Kexia came here because of this matter. The death of Huang Lin's sister and brother was closely related to Fu Yin's family, and Wang Kexia might also be deeply involved. In order not to make them suspicious, Zhao Mingbo was vague and smoothed over the matter.

There are gods three feet above the head. After Wang Kexia left , why did the ghosts in the Yellow River suppress things ? Zhao Mingbo went to the City God's Temple. Zhao Mingbo burned incense and kowtowed. He rejected his neighbors and the abbot of the City God's Temple. Then he murmured to himself, telling the City God about the grievances of Huang Lin's sister and brother. Finally, he asked himself what to do?

As soon as Zhao Mingbo finished speaking, the City God showed up and said, "Mr. Zhao, I already know about this matter. It is my duty to investigate and deal with corrupt officials. Just wait for the good news!" ”Zhao Mingbo was shocked and hurriedly leaned over and knelt down. Unexpectedly, the "City God" stepped down from the altar, pulled him up and said, "Magistrate Zhao, this matter must not be made public. We are the royal guards assigned by the emperor to eliminate corruption in Huanghuai Mansion. We have already paid attention to Huanghuai Mansion Yin." , are checking one by one! &rdquo

The "City God" turned out to be a man in black. Zhao Mingbo was stunned and did not react for a moment. The man in black patted him on the shoulder and said, "I know you are an upright official, so I showed up to meet you." Zhao Mingbo came to his senses and asked the man in black how he knew that there were many corrupt officials in Huanghuai Mansion? The man in black told a secret.

Zhu Yuanzhang built City God temples in various places, allowing officials to pay homage to the City God. On the surface, he warned them to be upright officials, but secretly he was testing whether the officials were honest and upright. The abbot of the City God Temple keeps records of the number of times officials paid homage to the City God. Most of the people with ghosts in their hearts were afraid of the City God and could not pay homage to the emperor as ordered. Wherever there were fewer officials, the emperor would send people to investigate those officials. This was the reason for the problems of Lord Fu Yin and many officials.

Half a month later, the governor appointed by the emperor came to Huanghuai Mansion, investigated and punished Mr. Fu Yin and a group of corrupt officials, including Wang Kexia, and held a public trial in front of the City God.

From now on, no matter who asks if there really is a City God, Zhao Mingbo will always say that there is a god three feet above the head, and God is watching what people do. If they take bribes, bend the law, or do evil, the City God will find him.

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