Surrounded by majestic mountains and meandering water, Dadao Mountain encompasses the entire village, and Liu Dacai possesses unparalleled swordsmanship.
Residing in the picturesque hamlet of Dapingzi, nestled halfway up the mountain behind Dadao Mountain, Liu Dacai was sought after by every household during festivities, joyous occasions, matrimonial unions, and the arrival of new daughters-in-law. Renowned as a culinary virtuoso, Liu Dacai’s expertise in butchery, meat carving, vegetable preparation, and orchestrating grand feasts was truly an art form. The severed head, trotters, and choice cuts of meat were meticulously arranged, eliciting unanimous admiration. In particular, the two-knife technique, resembling a celestial crescent, evoked awe. Paying visits to relatives and accompanying the mother-in-law to meet distant relatives became a matter of prestige. The mastery of banquet hosting was even more astounding. Each meat slice was meticulously squared, striking a perfect balance between lean and fat, while the translucent, paper-thin slices of cold, white meat emitted a radiant glow when held aloft by chopsticks. The salted vegetables, with layers as substantial as the heads of the chopsticks, were artfully arranged and dissolved upon touching the tongue. Every household in the village convened for such banquets, enticed by the mere mention of Liu Dacai’s culinary prowess. Men, women, young, and old flocked to the festivities, reveling in the delightful artistry of Liu Dacai’s knife skills. The elderly sported snow-white beards, their smiles spreading infectious warmth, while children engaged in lively banter and mirth. Indeed, these were days entirely devoted to savoring life’s delectable flavors.
Liu Dacai’s expertise in swordsmanship extended far beyond the mere slaughter of pigs and sheep for grand banquets. The finesse with which he wove bamboo on the tip of his blade could truly be deemed a martial art. Liu Dacai’s bamboo weaving, whether fashioning baskets or hampers, earned him unrivaled prestige in Dadaoshan Village. To assert that no one dared to vie for the top position if he claimed second place would not be an exaggeration. The round and square bamboo weavings crafted by Liu Dacai boasted exquisite aesthetics, coveted objects for excursions to the mountains and fields. At Baihe Field, they were perpetually the first to be snatched up, often sold out even before reaching the crossroads, prompting frenzied buying sprees. Liu Dacai’s bamboo weavings took on the appearance of wine bottles, vases, urns, or anything else one could envision. The vibrant flora, fauna, insects, and fish adorning these bamboo creations possessed an uncanny lifelikeness, captivating the beholder’s gaze. The crux of Liu Dacai’s bamboo weaving prowess lay in his dexterity with the blade. Each bamboo strip, meticulously and evenly sliced, exhibited a variety of shapes—some flat, others round or triangular. Only with precise cuts could the art of bamboo weaving be executed to perfection. Needless to say, the bamboo weavings birthed by Liu Dacai were highly sought after in the bustling Baihechang market. During holidays, numerous city dwellers would journey to Dadaoshan Village, their sole purpose being the acquisition of Liu Dacai’s bamboo masterpieces, regarded as veritable works of art. Some even went to great lengths, chauffeuring Liu Dacai to their homes, where he would weave baskets, a task demanding even greater effort. Picture this: investing in labor, food expenses, cigarettes, wine, and meat, while the master beckons you to enter, knowing full well that you possess limited skills. Could one possibly decline?
Liu Dacai’s mastery extended not only to the sword and the kiln but also to agriculture, carpentry, and stonemasonry. His craftsmanship garnered universal admiration, exemplifying true Kung Fu.
Liu Dacai once remarked, ‘All that transpires is ultimately born of hunger.’
These words from Liu Dacai left everyone dumbfounded. Indeed, in his early years, Liu Dacai’s family endured abject poverty. Both his parents had passed away, leaving him and his father to eke out a meager existence. Daily meals consisted of unfinished porridge, while their tattered garments provided scant protection against the biting cold, even during the harshest winters. Their straw-thatched house and dilapidated fence lay neglected, funds insufficient for repair. It was poverty that spurred transformation, and transformation that led to triumph.
The master, addressing Liu Dacai, lovingly imparted, ‘My dear, do not fear poverty. As long as you acquire a craft and dedicate yourself to honing your skills, no one in the countryside shall endure hunger.’ Liu Dacai readily absorbed every craft he encountered, diligently toilingto acquire mastery. He learned the art of agriculture, cultivating the land with utmost care and precision. His crops flourished under his watchful eyes, providing sustenance for his family and surplus for the market. Liu Dacai’s carpentry skills were equally remarkable. With steady hands and a keen eye for detail, he crafted furniture that rivaled the finest in the land. Every chair, table, and cabinet bore the mark of his expertise, attracting customers from far and wide.
In the realm of stonemasonry, Liu Dacai’s talent was unrivaled. He sculpted intricate designs and statues with remarkable finesse, transforming blocks of stone into works of art. His creations adorned temples, gardens, and public spaces, earning him accolades and admiration from all who beheld them.
Liu Dacai’s journey from poverty to prosperity was not without its challenges. He faced setbacks and obstacles along the way, but his unwavering determination and relentless pursuit of excellence propelled him forward. With each craft he mastered, Liu Dacai’s reputation grew, and opportunities for success multiplied.
His story became a source of inspiration for the people of Dadaoshan Village and beyond. Liu Dacai’s unwavering dedication to his crafts and his ability to turn adversity into triumph served as a reminder that with hard work, perseverance, and a steadfast commitment to one’s craft, one can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness.
Liu Dacai’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him. His culinary mastery, swordsmanship, bamboo weaving, agriculture, carpentry, and stonemasonry skills continue to inspire generations to pursue their passions and strive for excellence in all they do. Liu Dacai’s life is a testament to the transformative power of dedication, skill, and the indomitable human spirit.