A long time ago, a businessman remarried after his first wife died. However, the new wife disliked her stepchild and wanted to get rid of him.
“What’s the best way to do it?” she pondered. “I can’t kill him, nor can I poison him to death, because people will find out.” Finally, she got an idea.
The 10-year-old child had to work in the mountains every day and she always brought him his lunch. One day, her husband left on a business trip. The stepmother intentionally prepared his lunch with half-cooked rice, with the hope that he would die from indigestion. After a few weeks, the child began to complain of indigestion and was starting to lose weight. This pleased the stepmother and she continued to make him lunch with half-cooked rice.
One day, the child happened to find a tree with plenty of berries. He picked some of the berries out of curiosity and ate them. They were delicious. The berries seemed to quench his thirst as well. He began to feel better and continued to eat the berries every day.
“What happened?” the stepmother wondered. “He is not dying — instead, he looks much healthier, maybe God is protecting this child.”
Taken back by his unexplainable improvement, the stepmother decided to stop her plan. When the businessman returned home, he learned about the berries from his son, and decided to market them with a local herbalist. The berries were the Chinese hawthorn (山楂 shān zhā).
The following is a recipe for a hawthorn-based sweet and sour beverage, which is a refreshing drink on hot summer days:
- Dried hawthorn 200 g
- Dried black plums 50 g
- Brown sugar 3 tsp
- Soak the dried hawthorn (200 g) in cold water for about half an hour.
- Rinse twice to remove any dirt.
- Put about one quart of water in a cooking pot.
- Put the hawthorn and dried plums together in the pot.
- Boil for about one hour, and add 3 or 4 tsp brown sugar.
- Put in the fridge and drink cold.