Zhuang Guangyu of Liyang Village dreamed one night that a monster with horns protruding from its gruesome head came knocking at his door.
The monster said to Zhuang, "I am King Buffalo Head and the Great Lord on High has instructed me to come here and receive offerings. If you build a statue in my likeness, I will ensure prosperity and good fortune."
The next morning Zhuang told his fellow villagers of the strange dream. They were extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of good fortune, as the village was currently in the midst of an epidemic.
"It would pay us to trust in this monster. Besides, we've nothing to lose." They rallied around and pooled their savings, reaching a grand total of several tens of thousands. With the proceeds they built three thatched huts and a statue in the image of King Buffalo Head. The statue was duly positioned in the middle hut and from hereon in, the villagers made regular offerings to the king.
It wasn't long before the epidemic disappeared. Even more convincing, those folk who asked to give birth to sons appeared to have their wishes granted. The temple, needless to say, became the focus for generous offerings and incense for several years to follow.
Then one day, a villager by the name of Zhou Manzi went to the temple to seek a cure for his young son's smallpox. He made generous offerings of freshly killed meat as part of his worship, and his horoscope was read while he was there so he would have some indication of his son's fate. The horoscope predicted a positive outcome for his son's future. Zhou was ecstatic, so he hired a troop of actors to perform outside the temple as an expression of his gratitude.
A few days later, however, Zhou's son was dead. This turn of events left Zhou furious.
"I was relying on my son to till the fields and feed me in my old age.