Ye Tianshi was from Wu (now Suzhou) during the Qing Dynasty. Born into a medical family, his grandfather and father were well-known doctors. Ye extensively read medical books since his childhood. Being diligent and learning from a total of 17 medical specialists, he was proficient in medical science. Patients came from far and wide to ask for cures in droves.
One day, Ye went out in a sedan chair. There was a villager kneeling on the roadside and asking for treatment. Ye stopped and gave him an immediate diagnosis. Ye said: “With a normal pulse, did you really think you were sick?”
The villager said: “You are such a famous doctor that you must recognize all kinds of strange diseases. In fact, I am suffering from poverty! Can it be cured?”
Ye said with a smile: “That is not difficult to deal with. You come to pick up a prescription in the evening, and it will be healed as soon as you take the medicine I prescribe.”
In the evening, the villager came to get the prescription. Ye asked the villager to pick up the discarded olive pits in town, plant them in the ground, and when the saplings grew strong, let him know. Then, Ye would tell him what to do next.
The villager did as Ye said, and soon the saplings grew vigorously. The villager came and told Ye of their progress. Ye said: “Today, there will be people coming to look for the saplings. Then, you can sell them at a profit, a little expensive and not too cheap.”
From then on, Ye used the olive sapling as a herbal enhancer in his prescriptions. The patients rushed to buy the saplings, and soon the villager made lots of money and became rich. To show appreciation for Doctor Ye’s help, the villagers visited and thanked him with gifts.
Ye asked: “Are your symptoms of poverty healed?” The villager said: “With your power, it has been completely healed.” The story was praised in Wu.
Translated by Joseph Wu and edited by Helen