Not Keeping the Money Found, Abundant Wealth is Rewarded

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(Fotolia)

During the Jiajing Reign (1522 – 1566 AD) in the Ming Dynasty, a man called Shi Fu lived in the Town of Wujiang in Jiangsu Province. He and his wife made a living by growing silkworms and operating two silk-weaving machines.

One day, Shi Fu was on his way back from selling silk at a market, when he found a bag filled with silver coins. He thought, “If the silver belongs to someone who is running a small business like me, then his whole family would be hurt badly and may even suffer bankruptcy.”

So, he patiently waited for the owner to come to look for his lost silver. He waited for a long time, enduring hunger and fatigue until at last he saw the owner anxiously looking for it.

The owner was a young man. After Shi Fu checked the details, he returned the silver to the owner. The young man was very grateful and insisted on giving Shi Fu half of the silver as a token of gratitude. Shi Fu refused. The young man then tried to buy him some fruit and wanted to invite him to a meal. Shi Fu declined it all politely and left without leaving his name.

After he got home, he told his wife about it. His wife said, “You did well.” Unlike how many people in today’s society might feel, they didn’t view it as good fortune to have found some silver, and felt peaceful and content that the silver was returned to its owner.

After that, Shi Fu’s business became very successful and he earned good profits.

One year, he had trouble getting mulberry tree leaves for the silkworms and was quite concerned. He decided to go with ten other people to cross a nearby lake to get the leaves he needed. It was getting late so they stopped the boat at a small wharf and tried to cook some dinner. Shi Fu went onshore to look for a source of fire to light his kindling, and happened to come to the house of the young man who lost silver years ago.

The young man’s name was Zhu En. They were very pleased to see each other and had a good chat. Shi Fu told him about the shortage of mulberry tree leaves in his hometown and that they had to cross the lake to get them in Mount Dongting.

Zhu En said, “I have mulberry trees in my garden and they’ve grown exceptionally well lately. There are more than enough leaves for both our families. They seem to have grown for you, my brother. Isn’t it predestined?”

Shi Fu said, “It’s also destined that I’ve come to your house today.” The two men became sworn brothers. Shi Fu had a little boy and Zhu En a little girl, so they also arranged for their future marriage and became in-laws.

Zhu En and his wife were overjoyed and decided to cook some food to entertain Shi Fu and put him up for the night. They were about to kill a chicken. Shi Fu immediately stopped them, “I’m very grateful for your kindness, but there is no need to kill a life!”

Later, Zhu En made up a bed for Shi Fu by putting a door across two stools. That night, Shi Fu heard the chicken suddenly making a loud noise. He got up quickly and went outside to look. Just then, there was a terribly loud crash inside and something fell heavily on his bed. Zhu En heard the crash too and rushed in to see what had happened. He saw the door smashed into pieces and the stools lying on their sides.

In great shock he said, “The axle hanging above the bed fell! My brother, you didn’t want me to kill the chicken, now it’s saved your life to repay your grace.”

The next day, Zhu En sent Shi Fu home by boat, carrying the mulberry leaves he needed. Later they learned that the boat Shi Fu was on with ten others, had run into a storm and capsized. There was only one survivor who managed to come back with the terrible news. Shi Fu said to Zhu En, “If you had not kindly provided me for the night, I would have perished as well.” Zhu En said, “It happened because you were rewarded with good for all your good deeds. What has it got to do with me!”

Since that event, Shi Fu and his wife became more philanthropic and tried their best to do good deeds. One of their neighbors was quite wealthy, but was only interested in profits and thus suffered losses year after year. In contrast, Shi Fu, for his kindness and benevolence, accumulated significant assets within ten years and became the richest man in town.

His children and grandchildren were also very virtuous and filial towards elders. All those “coincidences” Shi Fu had encountered were not accidents; they had all been arranged by the Divine.

There is a saying that “A family that accumulates goodness will always have prosperity to spare.” Shi Fu was rewarded with good for doing good deeds; he had his ill luck turned into blessings and ended up having plentiful wealth.

There was a poem to emphasize the point, “It might not seem a big deal to return the money; Heaven already knows his virtues. Good deeds are always rewarded with good, every thought is known to supernatural beings.”

拾金不昧,積善余慶

明代嘉靖年間,江蘇吳江縣有一人施復,夫妻兩口,開著兩張綢機,靠養蠶織綢為生。一天施復賣綢回來,途中拾到一個小小銀子包兒,約有六兩多重,想道:此銀若是小本生意人丟的,全家將無法度日,甚至會家破人亡。於是他在拾銀子的地方等失主來找,忍著飢餓等了半日才見到失主匆忙來尋,原來是一位後生失落的,施復問清楚後即將銀子歸還給他。那後生非常感謝,要拿一半銀子酬謝施復,施復不肯,又要給施復買果子,請他去吃飯,施復一一謝絕後沒有留下姓名就走了。施復回到家裏,把這事告訴妻子,其妻道:「做得好。」夫婦二人不以拾銀為喜,反以還銀為安。

此後,施復每年養蠶,大有利息。有一年養蠶時,施覆沒處買桑葉,非常著急,就和鎮上十來家一起乘船過湖去買。天已傍晚,來不及過湖,就把船移進一小港泊住,準備晚飯。施復上岸去討火種時卻碰巧來到了當年丟銀子的那位後生家,後生叫朱恩,兩人談得投緣,施復說:「因缺了桑葉,要往洞庭山去買。」朱恩說:「我園上桑樹不曾增一棵兩棵,如今不但夠了自家,還餘下許多,正好夠老哥之用。這桑葉卻像為老哥而生,可不是個定數?」施復道:「就如你我相會,也是個定數。」二人又結為兄弟,之後兩家又聯了姻事。朱恩夫婦準備好的菜餚來款待恩人,又要殺雞,施復道:「這菜飯我就已非常感謝了,何必殺生!」連忙制止了朱恩夫婦。朱恩取下一扇板門,用凳子支了個鋪給施復。夜間,雞忽然大叫起來,施復於是起身急忙出來看雞,說時遲,那時快,才下鋪,走不上三四步,只聽得一時響亮,如山崩地裂,不知甚麼東西砸在鋪上。朱恩聽見忙過來用火照明,見那扇門打得粉碎,凳子都跌倒了,大驚說:「原來是有根車軸擱在上邊的,不知怎麼卻掉下來?哥哥起初不讓殺雞,誰想雞來報恩,救了你的性命。」第二天,朱恩帶上桑葉用船送施復回鎮,回來後得知昨日過湖買桑葉的人都遇風浪翻了船,十來個人都遇難了,只有一個人得救回來報信。施復向朱恩說:「若非賢弟相留,我此時亦在劫中矣。」朱恩道:「此皆大哥平昔好善之報,與我何干!」

施復夫婦自此愈加樂善好施,凡自己能做到的好事,盡力去做。旁邊有位鄰居富戶工於算計,也許正因為只知道「趨利」,所以後來連年虧損。而施復宅心仁厚,不上十年,就有數千金家業,其富冠於一鎮,後來更是子孫滿堂且賢孝。施覆在一連串的「巧合」中,都不是無緣無故的,冥冥之中自有安排。所謂積善之家,必有餘慶,意思是說:一個人多做好事,多積陰德,就算有些不順利的事情,也會逢凶化吉,慢慢好起來。不僅如此,還會給後世子孫帶來很多吉慶。施復因行善而屢獲善報、逢凶化吉,最終財源廣進,有詩曰:「六金還取事雖微,感德天心早鑑知。從來陰騭能回福,舉念須知有鬼神。」

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