This is an amazing story of fate and destiny that I have read from a Chinese newspaper . Even though I forgot the exact names and dates in the story, but it will not affect the main theme.

In late seventies, a Chinese peasant, Farmer Li discovered the tomb of the first emperor of China, Emperor Chin, who had unified China and built the Great Wall. This peasant hauled some of the relics that he had dug up and walked for two hours to the provincial Archeology Department.

The head of the department was stunned by the finding and tried to offer a reward to this peasant.

All he could find was his monthly salary of around $40 (about US$ 5 ).

The tomb of the first emperor of China, with thousands of terracotta soldiers guarding the tomb, is regarded as the 8th wonder of the world. The Chinese has built a museum around the tomb.

The peasant is an honest farmer, he dared not to pocket the reward money himself. So he had turned over the money to his commune leader.

The leader had left him 75 cents, or about a dime (US$ 0.10).

The person who had discovered the 8th wonder of the world was rewarded with a dime.

This poor peasant continued to live in his straw hut.

Twenty some years later, President Clinton visited the tomb in 1998.

President Clinton was amazed by the tomb’s collections. Then he asked, “Can I see the person who had discovered this tomb?”

The Chinese officials were baffled. Why on earth someone wanted to see an old peasant? They
sent people to the village where the peasant lived.

The peasant, Farmer Li, in his seventies, still lived in his straw hut.

When President Clinton saw the peasant, he said, “Sir, can I have your autograph?”

The peasant only drew three circles on Clinton’s autograph book.

“Wow! Amazing! You have discovered this tomb by drawing three circles. I should learn drawing circles more often.” Clinton exclaimed.

In reality, this peasant was an illiterate. It is a local custom to draw three circles when one does not know how to sign.

The Chinese government suddenly realizes the cultural value of this peasant. They had appointed a famous calligrapher to teach him how to autograph.

After two months, the old peasant can sign his name beautifully like a calligrapher.

Postscript: I have visited Xian in 2007 and to the terracotta tomb. There many “Farmer Li” there signing for money! They all claim to be the cousins or co-discoverers of the tomb.

Ken Lai