Predestined Fate - A Life Full of Misfortunes

Cui Yuanzong was the Prime Minister of China in the era of Empress Wu Zetian in the Tang Dynasty. One day an official, Xi Saner, who was in charge of historical records, told him, “Within sixty days from today you will be exiled to the Nanhai [now Guangdong Province in China]. In these six years, you will be on the verge of death three times, but finally you will make it through. After that, you will be appointed to a different position and you will be restored to your former rank again in the end. Your life span will be one hundred years, and you will finally die from starvation.”

Exactly sixty days later, Cui Yuanzong was exiled to the south of Nanhai for committing an offence. A few years later, he suffered from dysentery for over one hundred days. He was in a critical condition, but he survived. Some time later, he benefited from a major amnesty and was given permission to return to the capital city. However, while he was crossing the sea on ship, the ship sank in a storm. All other people on the ship died, but Cui Yuanzong survived because he was able to find a wooden board and float on the sea. The waves brought him to a small island and pushed him onto the reed marshes. Unfortunately, there was a nail on the board. The board flipped over, and the nail pierced a few inches deep into Cui Yuanzong’s back. He was completely exhausted, and could only moan and groan in the mud day and night.

At that time a ship happened to sail past the island. The people on the ship heard his moaning and saved him. They brought him onto their ship, removed the nail from his back and stopped his bleeding. After a long time Cui Yuanzong came around. People asked him for his name, and he said that he used to be the Prime Minister. People felt sorry for him and gave him food. He had to keep begging for food from people as the ship continued its journey.

One day as Cui Yuanzong was lying on the ship, he saw an official in a dark green suit. Cui recognised him to be an official under him when he was the Prime Minister. Cui introduced himself and talked to him. The official gave him some more food enabling Cui to return to the capital city.

Six years later, the official in charge of officer selection reported Cui’s situation to Empress Wu Zetian. She made an exception and appointed Cui Yuanzong in an official position. When Cui Yuanzong went to the imperial court to thank the empress, she recognised him from the dark green robe that he was wearing and decided to appoint him to a position in the Ministry of Officials that was higher than the one that she had given to him days earlier. When he went back to the court to thank the Empress a second time for the new position, she again decided to appoint him to an even higher position. After that he was promoted several more times and eventually became the Head of the Secretariat, a cabinet-level official.

By the time Cui reached 99, all of Cui’s children and nephews had died. Cui Yuanzong lay unwell in bed. He asked his servants to serve him food. However, seeing that he was old and sick, all the servants laughed at him and did not do anything for him. Cui Yuanzong was too weak to punish them, and no one else could punish them. Yuanzong was very angry and refused to eat anything afterwards. A few days later he died.

Everything in Cui’s life had been determined by his destiny and was exactly the same as what Xi Saner said.

References:
Accounts of Destiny (Ding Ming Lu)

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