Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 39

After a busy day, Li Yuanying was tired. There is only so many patients a county can offer and so after the excitement was over the group concluded their activities and left.

The group left through the gate and there were many waiting to send them off. Dong Xiaoyi looked back after walking some distance and whispered to Li Yuanying: “Your Highness, they’re still watching us from outside the city gate.”

Li Yuanying looked back and sure enough many were watching them leave at the city gate.

Yuanying paused for a brief moment before retracting his gaze. He nodded and said nothing but followed Sun Simiao step by step.

Seeing that the Prince was more silent than usual, Sun Simiao thinks that he’s been reflecting on the events that have transpired.

 “Your Highness, never mention that you will share your land again in the future. You must know that there are already existing people in your fief. If you divide the land and give it to outsiders, what will the existing citizens do?”

Sun Simiao’s words were reasonable and should be seriously considered.

“I just think that they are homeless and a little pitiful.”

 “There are many more pitiful people all around the world. You cannot be dividing your lands and taking care of everyone.”

“But I’ve not met the others.” The boy just felt that if it was something within sight and he is capable of handling it, he would help. Those that are not seen; out of sight out of mind.

Hearing the boy’s naive thoughts, the old doctor got a little concerned and so he gave him more advice.

“The only fear is that the intentions of a person is being twisted by those who hear about it.” What you have just said will spread from one person to ten and then to a hundred. If everyone who desires a pie of your lands approaches you for it, what will you do? Let’s put aside that it’s impossible to accommodate everyone, even if you are generous enough to share your wealth, how will others look at you?”

Yuanying had already thought about the first half of Doctor Sun’s statement. When he first established his library, Wei Zheng has already warned him that not everything that is given free will be appreciated by those who receive it. Therefore it is important to also mention the ugly truth upfront; only when rules are firmly established can an establishment operate smoothly.

Hence the boy mentioned that those who wish to come to his land must be willing to contribute by working. With more manpower available, more things can be done.

But the latter statement from the doctor bothers him. He is not fully able to grasp the meaning behind it: So what if others have an opinion about what he is doing?

They were surrounded by imperial guards sent by the Emperor and thus Sun Simiao is not able to fully explain the meaning behind his words.

Li Yuanying is after all just a vassal prince, although Li Er raised him himself and is fully aware of his personality, would the Crown Prince think the same? Will he instead think that Yuanying is trying to buy the hearts of the citizen? For starters, he has already established a public library and won the hearts of poor students. Now he’s also taking care of the homeless. Would this be seen as deliberately making a move to win votes?

Sun Simiao could only hint subtly: “If everyone else is not doing it except you, how can this be?”

The boy thought about it and nodded to indicate that he understands.

If no one else is doing it, it’ll be too eye-catching. And so he decided to convince his eldest nephew and the rest to join him! If we include them all, cumulatively we would be able to accommodate more people. There will be no worries about having too many people!

With more people, the wasteland can be reclaimed and we will have manpower, and harvest will increase and be much easier. When this group settles in, it’ll create transaction flow and the income of the fiefs will definitely increase. It’s a win-win situation!  

Li Yuanying felt that his idea is a good thing that benefited everyone and can’t wait to share it with his friends. He happily returned to the Li Mountain Palace with Sun Simiao.

At this same moment, Li Tai was talking to His Majesty and brought up the topic of Li Yuanying who has run off to play. Li Tai ran out of paper and had to send people out to get more. His men ended up watching a rather interesting and lively scene at a county town at the foot of Li Mountain.

He started by re-telling the story about Prince Teng following Doctor Sun to set up a free clinic and then repeated what the boy mentioned to the homeless people to his royal father.

Li Tai said with emotion: “In the past, uncle has always been heartless. He used to bury people in snow just for fun. I hadn’t expect that he would now love the citizens so much that he’s even willing to share the land he’s inherited from his late father with the people.”

Li Er paused and thought about Li Yuanying’s recent changes in behavior while his pen was dipped in red ink.

Within the last 6 months, Li Yuanying first wanted to learn <<Book of Rites>> and then <<The Analects of Confucius>> which led him to build a library for the public. And now he is even promising the underprivileged about providing shelter by dividing up his land. If you think about it carefully, he is indeed a very different person from before.

But the suspicion in His Majesty Li Er’s heart disappeared as quickly as it arise once he thought about the connection of these things: If I hadn’t punished my younger brother by making him copy <<Book of Rites>> and deliberately provoking him with Kong Yingda, Li Yuanying would not have ran to Wei Zheng and the others for advice. If Li Yuanying hadn’t been motivated by them, he wouldn’t have came up with the idea of creating a big academy and a library. He probably ran to Sun Simiao to study medicine because I casually belittled him about never having studied medicine.

This kid is born smart but unfortunately has a bad temper and is wild in personality. He’ll never want to do things seriously and properly. If you were to make him attend court to discuss serious issues, he will definitely start complaining that he rather die!

Such a lazy guy. Even if he has any thoughts, he’ll be too lazy to put anything into action.

Li Er said lightly: “Let him be. If he wants to divide land, let him do it. When he finishes everything then he can cry about it.”

Li Tai heard this and immediately put a stop to the topic. But he wonders to himself what kind of drugs has his uncle been feeding the Emperor that his loyalty is still not doubted despite the huge fanfare he has caused!

It’s a pity that Li Yuanying can squander his wealth but he can’t. If he were to do the same, then what capital does he have left to fight for the throne with the Crown Prince? Doing such a stupid thing, I’m sure those who are willing to support him will scatter soon. After all, who is willing to take the risk to stand with him now? Isn’t that hoping to seek wealth in the face of danger?

If he were to say to his supporters: “Support me and squander your wealth by giving it away to the underprivileged and so the citizens can live and work in peace and contentment!” Will anyone be willing to? No one will pay attention to him!

Even Wei Zheng, a high-ranking minister who prefers to live a frugal life went scouting for prominent families when he wanted to secure a marriage partner for his son. Justifying that a marriage between the upper class and commoners is not possible and will bring shame to the Emperor.

There is a clear distinction between good and bad, and between nobles and commoners!

Li Tai accompanied the Emperor for a little while more before returning home to continue talking bad about Li Yuanying to his confidants while shaking his head saying that Prince Teng is still young and naïve. With just his little fief, how many people can he support? Don’t let it come to the point that it’s not even enough to support him and his mother!

….….

Li Yuanying wasn’t aware that Li Tai has told the Emperor all about his doings. After returning to the palace, he went straight looking for the Emperor.

If based on normal reasoning, he should be angry with Li Er. And according to his character, he shouldn’t be taking the initiative to initiate a conversation with the Emperor. However, Yuanying felt that he has had his secret “revenge”. Since he’s been out running wild the whole day, he has much that he wants to share with others, he doesn’t care about still being angry or otherwise.

Li Yuanying excitedly ran to His Majesty. “Lord Brother, let me tell you, today I managed to correctly diagnose two people who were pregnant! They didn’t even know it themselves and only mention that they couldn’t understand why they were frequently vomiting and had no appetite! As soon as I check their pulse, I was accurate teacher praised me for being amazing!”

Li Er couldn’t process Li Yuanying’s thought process and so he just assume that the glass cups he gave him has given a positive effect. He raised his eyebrows and said: “Wow, you can even determine pregnancy pulse?”

Li Yuanying was certain that it was impossible for Li Er to know all about his “revenge” and secretly rejoiced in his heart: Of course, I learned it thanks to Brother Emperor!

The boy was having fun and continued on and on about his day’s adventure with great enthusiasm. At this rate, he’ll never shut up until he’s let everything out of his system.

His Majesty had no choice but to stop everything and listen to him.

When Li Yuanying started talking about the beggars, Li Er frowned.

Li Yuanying doesn’t hide things before His Majesty and asked strangely: “Brother, why is it that when others kowtow to me, I feel uncomfortable?”

Li Er paid great attention to Li Yuanying’s doubtful eyes filled with curiosity.

This child is straightforward. When he sees others with no food he wants to give them food, if they have no clothes he would want to clothe them. But the world is so big, and so many are suffering and afflicted. How can you possibly give to all?

His Majesty said patiently: “That’s because to you, what you have done is nothing, but others gave you deep thanks because they perceive it as saving them from fire and water. For you, those are just words that can be easily spoken but for others, it’s a life-saving affair.”

Since Tang Empire is founded more than 20 years ago, we lack manpower everywhere and lands were uncultivated. At the same time, many still lost their land due to various reasons. The Emperor can issue all kinds of decrees to help the people recuperate but he cannot stop problems from popping up.  Then you also have to reward those who have made meritorious deeds, and you have to award the royal family. With this, it’s natural that the lands left for common people will be greatly reduced. Hence the only choices left to commoners were either to reclaim wasteland according to the arrangement of the government or to become tenants of powerful families.

His Majesty understood the limitations of these things, but he cannot offend the noble clans by overly favoring the commoners. And so he could only try to open a path of advancement for the common people through the imperial examination.

Everything can’t be perfect all at once. It has to be done slowly, little by little, not too hastily.

Li Yuanying couldn’t digest his Majesty’s detailed explanation to his question.

This is too difficult for him. When he is reading a book, a sentence has one meaning. When taking a pulse, a common reading would lead to a common disease. Things are straightforward. The Emperor’s way of talking in circles thoroughly confuses him.

“Lord Brother, I don’t understand what you’ve said. But being the Emperor is really tiring and you are really working hard.”

“Even if it’s hard work, isn’t everyone still vying for this seat?”

Li Yuanying said boldly: “Even if you hand it to me on a silver platter I would reject it.”

He thought about  his eldest nephew who was also working hard and didn’t hold back his thoughts.

“Being the crown prince is also hard work. You’ve arranged for Old man Kong and the other ministers to watch Chenqian at the East Palace and he gets a bloody scolding for everything he does. That’s so tragic.  Lord Brother, is it because you think Old man Kong and his group are more annoying than Old man Wei and so you arrange them to Chengqian’s side? I also heard that Zhang Xuansu that old man didn’t agree with you rebuilding Luoyang Palace and scolded you in person. You pretended to listen to him but the next day moved him to East Palace! You’re cunning and sly!”

Li Er couldn’t hold back and knocked on Li Yuanying’s forehead: “Minister Zhang is a highly respected minister, keep your mouth shut!” Besides, what did you just call me?

His Majesty felt that sooner or later he might accidentally beat this b*stard brother to death!

Li Yuanying held onto his forehead and continued without remorse: “Lord Brother, you are blinded by anger!”

Li Er can’t be bothered with his brother anymore.

The topic regarding “It’s really hard to be an Emperor and crown prince” came to an end.

Li Yuanying then told Li Er all about Sun Simiao’s advice word for word and added his perfect interpretation of the statement: “So I’ll ask Chengqian and Zhi Nu to join in and then it wouldn’t be considered as only me running the initiative. Lord brother, am I right?”

His Majesty instantly understood what Sun Simiao wanted to warn the young prince.

Seeing that Li Yuanying not only did not understand Sun Simiao’s words but instead wanted to dragged his nephews into it, His Majesty held in his laughter and put on a solemn face. He nodded in agreement: “Yes, let’s do it like this.”

These boys all born in the palace and grew up living comfortable in luxury. They have never seen much suffering in the world and so let them get out of the palace gate and see for themselves that not all of Tang Empire is as prosperous as the city of Chang’an.

Notes from the author:

Little Prince: The emperor is really sly and cunning

His Majesty Li Er: Change that statement

Little Prince: Lord Brother is a trickster

His Majesty Li Er: Get out, get out of here! ! ! ! !

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