Number Ten Ox

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Number Ten Ox is a fictional character from Barry Hughart's series Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, set in a version of ancient China that never was.

Lu Yu lives in the village of Ku-fu with his aunt and uncle, his parents having died when he was ten. Though he shares a name with the eminent author of The Classic of Tea, the two should not be confused. As he was "the tenth of father's sons, and rather strong" he is known as Number Ten Ox.

He has fallen in love at least three times, with a girl of his village who died, named Scented Hairpin, with Lotus Cloud (who turns out to be the fictional equivalent of Weaver Girl, Jade Pearl, princess of birds), and with Grief of Dawn. In Eight Skilled Gentlemen he falls for Yu Lan, a shamanka.

As a child he joined the local boys society, the Seven Bloody Bandits of the Dragon Bones Cave.

To save the children of the village of Ku-fu, he was sent by his aunt with five thousand copper cash to hire a Sage in hopes of curing a mysterious malady affecting the children of his village. When arriving in Peking he realized that a peasant's 5000 copper was a tiny sum but managed to find the drunken sage, Li Kao who agrees to help if Number Ten Ox uses all five thousand copper to go out and buy all the wine he can find. Number Ten Ox later becomes Li's assistant.

In The Story of the Stone, it is revealed that this is his first human incarnation in the cycle of...
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