A Virtuous Mother From the Three Kingdoms Era

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During the period of the Three Kingdoms, Zhong Yao (151-230), the founder of the regular Chinese calligraphy script known as kaishu, was married to Zhang Chang-pu (199-257). Zhang was an upstanding lady who abided by justice and placed a high value on the cultivation of morals and virtues. Even toward servants, her behavior was respectful, and Zhong’s family held her reputation in high esteem.

Zhong Yao’s other wife, Lady Sun, was born into a noble family. Sun was the First Lady in the Zhong household and attended to all household matters. Lady Sun was proficient in arguing and debating, but lacked compassion and was jealous of virtuous and capable people. In Sun’s eyes, if she made a mistake, it could be overlooked simply because she could find a reason to justify whatever she did.

Lady Sun was jealous of Zhang Chang-pu’s righteousness and planned to defame her, but ultimately her plans failed and she was unable to harm Zhang Chang-pu. When Zhang Chang-pu was pregnant, Lady Sun became even more jealous and poisoned Zhang Chang-pu’s food when she was not looking. Zhang Chang-pu took a bite and felt that something was amiss. Fortunately, she spat out the food. However, she was still affected by the poison and had a dizzy headache for several days afterward.

Zhang Chang-pu’s servant advised her to let Zhong Yao know about the incident, but she chose to discreetly settle the matter herself. Zhang Chang-pu said: 「Ever since ancient times, the fight between the legal wife and the concubine would lead to the ruin of a household and damage to the nation. People back then and up to today have taken it as a warning. If I tell my husband about such a matter, but he decides not to believe me, then who will help me prove my case? Moreover, Lady Sun now assumes that I will tell my husband about this matter; since she started it, let her bring it up. Perhaps it will be better this way.」 And so Zhang Chang-pu claimed to be ill.

As expected, Lady Sun, under the impression that Zhang Chang-pu had already told her husband about the incident, said to Zhong Yao: 「I wanted to help Lady Zhang give birth to a boy, so I secretly drugged her with medicine that would help her give birth to a boy. The ungrateful woman now accuses me of poisoning her with bad intentions!」

Zhong Yao, hearing this, was very surprised and at first, he thought that taking medicine to help give birth to a boy was a good thing. Then, he thought that if the medicine was secretly added to the food, that was not normal behavior. So Zhong Yao called his servants and questioned them. After he was informed of the situation, Zhong Yao expelled Lady Sun from his estate.

Zhong Yao later asked Zhang Chang-pu why, after being poisoned, she endured and said nothing. Zhang Chang-pu told him that a family harming each other will ruin the family and in the worst case even damage a nation. After he finished listening, Zhong Yao was very impressed and respectful of Zhang Chang-pu’s virtue. After Zhang Chang-pu gave birth to Zhong Hui (225-264), who later became a famous general and conquered the Shu Han state, she received even more of Zhong Yao’s love and respect.

When Zhong Hui was 4 years old, Zhang Chang-pu taught him to read poetry. Under the guidance of his mother, Zhong Hui dressed simply from that young age. He also personally attended to family matters and was known to be thrifty. After he grew up and became an official, whenever he received a reward, he gave it all back to the state.

When Zhong Hui became a high official, the great general Cao Shuang monopolized power, drank excessively, and indulged in pleasures every day. Zhang Chang-pu believed that the general could not protect the wealthy families due to his indulgence in alcohol and desires.
Two years later, a father and son from the Sima family battled for power with Cao Shuang, initiating a coup at Gao-ping Hill. At the time, Zhong Hui also participated in it. Everyone was worried about Zhong. However, Zhang Chang-pu was unmoved.

Seeing that Zhang Chang-pu was calm and composed, some officials couldn’t help telling her that Zhong Hui was in danger, and wondered why she wasn’t anxious.

Zhang Chang-pu calmly replied: 「Great General Cao Shuang has lived extravagantly with no discipline. I’m often worried about him. Sima Yi’s coup isn’t to endanger the nation. It’s aimed at the Great General. My son is at the Emperor’s side. What is there to worry about? Word has it that Sima Yi’s forces do not have large numbers or heavy weapons, so I think it will not be a long, drawn-out battle.

The battle unfolded as Zhang Chang-pu predicted and people praised her for having insight and wisdom underpinned by virtue. Afterward, Zhong Hui continued to receive great favors and rewards.

三國時期賢母 鍾繇夫人張昌蒲

作者:杜若

三國時期,有一位賢惠的母親,是「楷書鼻祖」鍾繇夫人張昌蒲(西元199年─257年)。張昌蒲為人端正,遵循禮義,注重修身養德,哪怕對位卑的僕役,也都很講信用,鍾家上下都很尊敬她。
鍾繇(西元151年─230年)的另一夫人孫氏,出身貴戚,在鍾家後庭居於正位,管理鍾家內務。孫氏善於論辭,說起話來滔滔不絕。但其心地不善,嫉賢妒能,常常信口雌黃詆毀他人,凡是自己犯下的過錯,只要她辯解一番,就能掩蓋過去。
孫氏嫉妒張昌蒲的賢明,想詆毀她,但始終都沒有辦法傷害到張昌蒲。張昌蒲懷孕時,孫氏越發妒嫉,居然動起惡念,她趁人不備,在張昌蒲的飯菜中下毒。張昌蒲吃了一口,覺得不對勁,就把食物吐了出來,但還是受到毒藥的影響,一連頭暈目眩了好幾天。
張昌蒲的僕人勸她,最好將此事告訴鍾繇,但她只是低調地處理此事。張昌蒲說:「自古以來,正室和側室互相傷害,會破家害國,古今都引以為戒。假如我對夫君說了此事,但他不肯相信我,誰又能為我證明此事呢?況且孫氏會認為,我一定會將此事先告訴夫君,既然事情由她引起,就由她去說吧,這樣或許好一些。」於是張昌蒲稱病不出。
果然不出所料,孫氏以為張昌蒲已經將此事告訴鍾繇,就對鍾繇說:「我想使張氏生一個男孩,所以暗自給她下了一些生男的補藥。現在,她反說我用毒藥去害她。」
鍾繇聽後很吃驚,他獨自思量著:「得到生男之藥是好事,但如果把藥偷偷地放在人吃的食物裡面,這不是人之常情。」於是鍾繇把僕人叫來,詢問了一番。鍾繇獲悉實情後,就把孫氏休了,逐出家門。魏文帝曾下詔,令鍾繇收回休書,迎接孫氏回家,鍾繇誓死不從。
鍾繇曾問張昌蒲,為甚麼被人毒害,卻忍隱不說?張昌蒲表示,一家人互相傷害,會破家害國。鍾繇聽罷,十分敬佩張昌蒲的賢德。張昌蒲生下鍾會(西元225年─264年)後,更加受鍾繇敬愛。
張昌蒲懂詩書,鍾會4歲時,就教導他讀《孝經》;7歲時讀《論語》;8至14歲時,早慧的鐘會就已讀遍《詩經》、《尚書》、《易經》等著作。在母親的教育下,鍾會從小穿著簡樸,親自管理家事,懂得節儉,成人為官後,凡是得到的賞賜,他都還給公家。
鍾會擔任尚書郎時,大將軍曹爽(?─西元249年)專權,每天縱酒享樂。一天宴會結束後,鍾會的兄長鍾毓(西元210年─263年)回到家,講起此事。張昌蒲認為曹爽酗酒縱樂,不是長守富貴的辦法。
兩年之後,司馬氏父子和曹爽爭權,發動高平陵之變,當時鍾會也參與其中。眾人都為此擔心,張昌蒲卻是神情自若。
中書令劉放、侍郎衛瓘、夏侯和等人,平日都和鍾會有交往,看張昌蒲如此鎮定,不免好奇地問她,鍾會陷入危難,她為甚麼就不擔憂呢?
張昌蒲平靜地說:「曹爽大將軍生活奢侈,沒有節制,我常常為其憂心不已;太傅(司馬懿)(西元179年─251年)發動政變並不是要危害國家,而是針對大將軍。何況我的兒子就在帝王身邊,有甚麼可擔心的呢?聽說司馬懿他們這次出兵,並沒有大軍重器,想必一定不會久戰。」
戰事情況發展,果然如張昌蒲所言,時人紛紛稱讚張昌蒲的賢明。後來鍾會也得到司馬師、司馬昭兄弟二人的重用。

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