The Fortune of Zhang Baozang

Zhang Baozang was a low-ranking government official who lived in Jinwu during the Tang Dynasty. One day on his way home, he saw a young man who had been out hunting. The young man was having a picnic and had brought some fresh meat with him. Zhang Baozang, leaned against a tree and sighed deeply, "I, Zhang Baozhang, am already 70 years old. I have not been able to afford to eat meat and drink wine like that. How pitiful." A monk standing by the roadside pointed at him and said, "Within sixty days, you will be promoted to a high-ranking official with the third highest rank in the whole court. What do you have to sigh about?" After saying that, the monk disappeared.

Baozang felt very puzzled and immediately returned to Beijing. Meanwhile, the emperor, Taizong, was suffering badly from dysentery. Many doctors had tried to treat him but were all ineffective. So, the emperor issued an imperial order to all officials in the court, directing them to find someone who could treat this kind of illness. He told them that whoever found such a person would certainly get a generous reward.

Baozang himself had previous bouts with dysentery, so upon hearing news of the emperor’s condition, he submitted the prescription for the cure he had used. The medicine consisted of stir-frying piper longuml with milk. After taking this medicine, the emperor immediately became well and subsequently issued an imperial order for the prime minister, Wei Zheng, to appoint Zhang Baozang to a government position of official with the fifth highest rank. Wei Zheng, however, didn’t like Zhao Baozang and decided on his own not to issue the promotion order for Zhang Baozang.

More than a month went by, and the emperor suddenly suffered from the same sickness again. He said to the nearby servants, "The fried piper longuml remedy I took before was very effective," and ordered them to prepare the medicine again. He became well again after taking this medicine. Upon his recovery, the emperor reflected for a while and said to his prime minister, "I once issued an order to award the person who presented the formula with a position that carries the fifth highest rank. I don’t remember seeing that person being promoted yet. Why is that?" Wei Zheng became afraid, and said, "When I got you order, I did not know whether you meant to honor him with a civil official position or a military one." The emperor became angry, "He cured the emperor. Why don’t we give him a position that carries the third-highest rank? I am an emperor. Am I inferior to you?" Severely he continued, "Honor him with a civil official position with a designation of the third-highest rank. In addition, honor him with the title ‘Honglu Loyal Minister Official.’"

All of these events happened on the 60th day of the monk’s prediction.

Source: The Book of Unique Records

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