Chinese Whisper: 'Tu-Dao-Ren' Print
China Uncensored Staff   

This New Year, my dad told me about an event that happened in our village that bothered me. So I searched on the web, and I was shocked to find that there are similar events happening in many places.

Tu-Dao-Ren, a person who wanders from village to village selling knives and scissors with payment deferred until certain predictions come true.

My blog:
Just came back from Susong (Anhui province) today. Everything as usual: relatives and friends were very hospitable to each other, I slept well and ate well.

What I need to mention is, this time, like a few times before when I went home, I met the people who give out scissors or knives. This was the fourth time I have met these people as I recall.

The first time was in 1984, a man came to our village, I remember clearly that he told us that we do not need to pay him for the scissors, he will come back to collect money when pork will be 5 yuan per Jin (Jin - Chinese weight = half kilo). If his prophecy did not eventuate, then he would not get his money. I remember that our villagers took 10 pairs of scissors from him. Our family also took one, and the quality was quite good.

Later my relatives told me that he came to collect money that year when the pork price reached 5 yuan per Jin.
He was selling his new scissors at the same time that he collected his money for the old scissors. So everyone asked him, when will you collect money again next time. He said he will be back when pork is 10 yuan per Jin and rice costs 1 yuan per Jin.

I was surprised that in 2006, pork and rice prices reached his prediction and he came to collect the money.

In fact, he was right in his predictions for over 20 years. Also, he had good faith in the people, knowing that they would not refuse to give him his money. He never made notes of who had his scissors.

This time, I planned to check him out. I asked him where he from, he replied, "I am wandering around." “Why do you do this business?” “As long as it can earn money, I work on.” I asked him if he worried about people not paying money they owed to him, he said that Chinese peasants will not do that. He does not go to the cities.

I asked him if the conditions for collecting money were the same everywhere, he said that there are people looking after different areas, conditions are different. But he refused to tell me about conditions in other area. I asked him how long will he continue doing this business. He said that he will stop when he is unable to walk, but there other people would look after this area then.

The last question to him: "what is the condition for the next time you come to collect money?" “When three people share one corn pancake.”he replied.

I am not sure what this really means but I felt a little chill in my heart.
He ate a piece of water melon we offered to him and left.

Our villagers had a heated discussion about this prophecy. How will anyone have money to pay him for his knives and scissors if we can only afford to have one corn pancake among three people?

Some villagers said:

“If you live to an old age, you may face famine twice in your life."

"You live one life time, but create two lifetimes of sin!"

"Even if we start collecting food from now on, when famine comes, this food will not be yours."

(This blog was posted in 2007.)

There were many postings similar to this that happened in other country areas of China, some say he will collect money when 2 bags of rice can be exchanged for a house.