AATMD Chapter 1

Lets start with a profile.

Name: Yuanzhang ZHU
Nickname: Zhu double eight, Zhu 88, Guorui, ZHU
Sex: Male
Nationality: Han
Blood type: ?
Education Background: None.
Job: Emperor
Family Background: (at least three generations) Farmer
Birth and Death: 1328 – 1398
Favorite Color: Yellow (It seems that he did not have a choice)
Father: Zhu five four (to make it easier to read, let’s call him Zhu 54)
Mother: Chen
Motto: My things are mine, your things are still mine.
Main life experiences:
1328 – 1344: Pastured his cattle
1344 – 1347: Became a monk, begging.
1347 – 1352: Live as a monk, tolling a bell in a temple everyday…
1352 – 1368: Rebel!
1368 – 1398: Main job: being the emperor!

Everything starts at a night in 1328. The wife of Zhu 54 the farmer gave birth to a boy. Well you guys know that, the boy is the future Yuanzhang Zhu.

In Chinese history books, every time when an emperor was born, the weather will always be strange. For example, there will be strong winds, heavy rains, fragrance coming out (from no where), stars blinking, red lights everywhere, etc. There will always be something that tells you that this new-born baby is different from the others. Mr Zhu was no exception. When he was born, there was red lights everywhere, the whole house became so bright (with not light source), that his neighbours thought there was a fire and came to help.

But back then Zhu 54 wasn’t like the happy fathers we often see in the delivery rooms in hospitals. As a father of three sons and two daughters, the first thing he thought about was the food problem.

The life of Zhu 54 was consisted of two parts. He owned a Tofu shop, but his family income was mainly relies on his job as a farmer. This determined that him, as a member of the farm family, had to keep farming to subsist.

A month after the birth of Zhu 54 Junior, his parents gave him a name: Zhu 88. Let’s find out more about the names of the Zhu family (as they were all very special).

Name of Yuanzhang Zhu’s great-great-grandfather: Zhu 106;
Name of Yuanzhang Zhu’s great-grandfather: Zhu 49;
Name of Yuanzhang Zhu’s grandfather: Zhu 01;
Name of Yuanzhang Zhu’s father (we already mentioned before): Zhu 54.

The Zhu family were not mathematicians, but why were their names consisted of numbers? This was because that in the Yuan dynasty, if civilians did not go to school or did not have a formal job in the city, they could not have a formal name. Their names were usually the sum of their parents’ age or  their birthday.

In Yuanzhang’s childhood, he lived in a house that is cool in winter and hot in summer[1], with good ventilation[2] and natural lighting[3]. His main job was to pasture a cattle for his landlord Liu De. He was very eager to go to school, but his father Zhu 54 could never afford the money. Yuanzhang did not have the sentiment as Li Mi[4], and there were apparently no officials like Yang Su to appreciate him. Therefore, Yuanzhang pasture cattles for 12 years honestly.

This was because, he needed to live.

At that time, Yuanzhang’s ideal life was to work hard, marry a hard-working girl and give birth to his children. The name of his children might be Zhu 32, Zhu 40, and when Zhu 32 and Zhu 40 grew up, they might be pasturing cattles for Liu De Junior.

This is the future happy life of sixteen-year-old Yuanzhang.

China, at this time, was ruled by the corrupted Yuan rulers. These conquerors from Mongolia didn’t seem to see civilians as human beings. They were even thinking of killing all these civilians, who took so much space on their land, which could be used for livestocks. From heavy taxes to military services, the rulers thoughts of lots of ways to force civilians to pay. During festivals there were “festival fees”, when working there were “daily fees”, when engaging in a lawsuit there were “business fees”. Scared? What if I just stay at home? Isn’t it ok to not do anything? No. You still need to pay if you do nothing. You need to pay “Sahua fees“[5]. Just take it.

So, after these conquerors had ruled China for more than 60 years, their machines (the civilians) could not work anymore. The Yuan Dynasty was like a tired camel, waiting for the last straw on its back[6].

The straw came quickly.

1344 was a very special year. In this year, God had decided to abandon the Yuan dynasty. He brought two catastrophe to China, at the same time, dug a grave for Yuan and wrote the epitaph: an eye from a stone man causes the whole world to rebel.

God was very thoughtful. He prepared a person to fill up the grave for Yuan: Zhu 88.

Well of course Zhu 88 would never thought about this.

Then, he was 17.

Very soon, a disaster would come to his life, but at the same time, a great cause awaited. It’s like in legends, a phoenix needs to overcome lots of challenges while jumping into the fire. After a lot of hard work, the bird could rise from ashes, becoming the noble, honorable bird.

Zhu 88, go ahead! The goddess of fate is waiting for you!

[1] This is a Chinese idiom. It is usually used to describe an ideal place that is cool in summer and code in winter. The descriptions are changed here to describe the bad condition of the house.
[2] The walls could not stop any wind from coming through
[3] No roof…
[5] Sahua fees refers specifically to the tax in the Yuan Dynasty that you had to pay for no reason
[6] From the idiom: It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back

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