A Folktale: Returning Good for Evil

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In ancient China, there was a successful scholar who was also adept at martial arts. He took pride in his martial arts prowess as well as his high-ranking government position. He was arrogant and often bullied his neighbors.

One of his neighbors was a white-bearded old man, who lived with his three sons. One day the old man said to his sons, “I have always taken care of the family. I was often bullied during my lifetime and all of you also suffered from those insults. I am getting old, and it is time for one of you to take charge of the family. Today, I will give each of you ten taels of silver (ancient monetary unit in China). You are to go out and do one virtuous deed. Whoever does the best job will be in charge of the family.”

After some time passed, all of them returned home. The old man asked them what they had done.

The oldest son said, “One day, I saw a pregnant woman jump into a river to commit suicide. I immediately jumped into the river and pulled her back to the bank. I saved two lives because she was pregnant.” The old father nodded without saying a word.

The second son said, “When I passed a village, I saw a house on fire. It was a very windy day. The fire could have spread to the whole village. I alone put out the fire. I saved the lives and properties of many families.” The old father smiled, but did not say anything.

The youngest son said, “I’m so sorry, Dad. I did a very stupid thing. I saved an enemy. One day, while passing by a mountain, I found our neighbor the martial scholar asleep on the edge of a cliff. He had drunken himself into a stupor because he had been celebrating a victorious battle. He could have fallen over the cliff and been smashed to pieces if he turned over. When I first noticed him, I did not care what happened to him because I thought he deserved punishment. However, I changed my mind after I realized that our country still needed him to defend the border and fight our enemies on the battlefields. I woke him up. He was very embarrassed. He bowed to me and then rode away on his horse.”

The old man laughed and made the youngest son the head of the family. When the other two sons did not agree with the choice their father had made, the father explained, “Pulling a woman out of the river only saved one life. Putting out the house fire only saved one family. People can only live in peace and be content when the country is at peace and prosperous. Your youngest brother placed the interests of the country over his personal grudge. That is the highest virtue.”

The youngest son then became the head of the family. The martial scholar acknowledged the wrongful deeds he had done to the old man’s family. He appreciated the youngest son for his forgiveness. The two families got along well and became good neighbors.

Although the story is short, it is very inspiring. The old man and his sons were righteous, particularly the youngest son. His great compassion and forbearance changed the belligerent neighbor.

Virtues that were admired and praised in the past are rarely seen in China today. Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took control of the nation, traditional culture and morality have been intentionally destroyed. After numerous terrifying political movements, people have become wary. It seems that almost everyone sees everyone else as an enemy, and trust is nonexistent between people. Society is corrupt, and bribery is rampant. People are tired of living this way.

民間故事:以德報怨

話說很久以前,在中國古代,有一個武狀元,自以為功高官大,目中無人,常常欺侮鄰居。

鄰居是個白鬍子老漢,和三個兒子生活在一起。有一天,老漢將三個兒子叫到面前,說:「我當了一輩子家,常常受人欺負,你們也跟著嘔了許多閒氣,受了許多委屈。現在我老了,輪到你們當家了,今天,我給你們每人十兩銀子,出門做一件積功德的事,回來,誰有美德,誰做的最好,誰就當家。」

過了一段時間,三個兒子都回來了,父親要他們講出各自做的善事。

大兒子說:「有一天,我看見一個婦人跳河自殺,我跳進河裏把她救上岸來。她正懷著身孕,我救了兩條性命。」

老父點點頭,沒有言語。

二兒子說:「我走過一座村莊,看見一戶人家失火。這天正刮著大風,眼看要蔓延全村,我隻身跳進火海,將火撲滅,保住了許多人家的生命財產。」老父笑瞇瞇的,還是沒有言語。

三兒子說:「爹,對不起您老人家,我做來了一件愚蠢的事,救了一個仇人。那天,我路過大山,看見鄰居武狀元出征勝利歸來,高興地喝醉了酒,倒在懸崖邊睡著了,一翻身就會摔到崖下,粉身碎骨。我本不想去管他,摔下去是他自己倒霉;可是又一想,邊疆正需要他去防守,沙場需要他去征戰,最後我還是把他喊醒了,他羞愧滿面,深深給我做了一個揖,上馬走了。」

老父聽罷,哈哈大笑,便讓小兒子當家。大兒子和二兒子都不服氣。

老父說:「救命保住一人;救火保住一家。只有國家太平富強,百姓才能安居樂業。你們的弟弟能丟開個人恩怨,先為國,後為家,這是最高的美德。」

小兒子當了家,武狀元非常感激他,承認自己以前的過錯,從此兩家和睦相處,成為最要好的鄰居。

故事雖短但很感人,父子仨人都是仁義之士,而小兒子更勝一籌,他的大善大忍感化了兇蠻的鄰居。可是,這種歷來被人們所敬仰,傳頌的美德,在如今的中國已經很少見了,因為自從中共執政以來,有意破壞傳統文化,摧毀道德理念,特別是歷經連番的整人運動,人與人之間心存戒備,缺乏信任,幾乎人人為近敵,社會風氣敗壞,貪官橫行,人人活的都很累。

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