The Difference a Good or Evil Thought Can Make to Your Destiny

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(Fotolia)

During the times of Emperor Guanxu of the Qing dynasty, there was a man from Jiangsu Province who worked in a trading firm in the Shanghai concession territories. His honesty made him a trustworthy employee in the eyes of his boss, who asked him to collect receivables on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Between sunrise and noon, the man collected about 1,800 silver coins. Tired out, he stopped for a quick drink at a tea house in Huangpu District, before hurrying back to his company. When he returned, he was shocked to find that his leather wallet was missing. Where could he possibly have dropped it? His boss accused him of stealing the money and threatened to call the police. Having no convincing explanation, the man burst into tears.

There was another man who’d been working in the area, who’d decided to quit his job and return to his hometown on the other side of the Huangpu River. On his way, he stopped at the same tea house, while awaiting his ferry. Discovering the leather wallet on a table, he opened it and was surprised to find so much money inside.

“Wow, such a fortune! This much money would enable me to live quite comfortably for the rest of my life,”he thought. But another thought followed: “Wait! The owner may lose his reputation or even his life for misplacing this money. My conscience wouldn’t leave me in peace…Well, rich or poor, it’s all predestined. I can’t take things that don’t belong to me. I’ll wait here for the owner to return.”

The man waited until late afternoon, when he suddenly saw two men enter hurriedly, followed by a third man, who looked pale and worried. He was certain that these were the owners of the wallet.

“Lost your pouch? I’ve been waiting here for you for ages,”he said to them with a smile. The collector let out a big sigh of relief. “If it wasn’t for you, I would have ended up hanging myself tonight!” he exclaimed and tried to offer the man a portion of the money as a reward. Yet the man solemnly refused to take even a single penny. The collector thought for a moment and said, “I will host a feast for you tomorrow and I will be waiting for you.” They exchanged names and parted.

The collector was happy to see the man appear at the feast the next day. He stood up to propose a toast in his honor, when the man stopped him, saying, “Thanks to you, my life was spared yesterday. I was planning to board the afternoon ferry. This morning I heard that the ferry had overturned due to rough waters. All 23 people aboard had died!”

Translated by Cecilia
Edited by Emiko Kingswell

從溺死鬼到大富翁 善惡一念間 命運兩重天

光緒年間,有一個江蘇人某甲,在上海租界某洋貨商行從商,主人欣賞他的誠實,對他很信任。某年端午節前夕,主人派某甲帶著小皮囊去南市收款。某甲從早上到中午,收得銀洋一千八百餘元。


某甲又飢又渴,但又惦記著要趕緊回去,匆匆在十六鋪茶樓喝點茶就回商行了。回到商行,某甲驚呆了,皮囊居然沒有帶回來,倉促間又想不起來怎麼丟的。主人懷疑他私吞,厲聲斥責,並且說如果不立刻歸還銀洋,一定讓某甲吃官司。某甲百口莫辯,只有放聲大哭。


有浦東人某乙,也在租界從商,當時某乙正處在失意落拓之時,正打算渡過黃浦江回鄉。那時某甲匆匆離開十六鋪茶樓後,某乙也來到十六鋪茶樓,登樓飲茶,邊等船邊悵惘不已。某乙瞥見有小皮囊遺留在桌上,打開一看竟然是鉅款。


某乙又驚又喜,隨即又想到:「如此鉅款,我如果取走,不僅可以助我脫離貧困,還能半生溫飽有餘。但物各有主,別人如果因為遺失這些錢而喪失名譽,甚至失去性命,我怎能心安理得!人是貧是富是命中註定。我今天既然撿到了失物,就要盡到自己職責,坐在這裡等失主前來,把錢還給他才行。」


當時已經正午,喝茶的客人稀稀落落,只有八九個人。某乙一直等到傍晚,才見某甲面色淒白,跟著兩人倉皇趕來。


某乙觀察了一會兒,斷定他們真的是失主,就笑著迎向他們,說:「你們掉了錢囊嗎?我等你們很久了。」說罷拿出皮囊給他們看。此時,某甲真是感激涕零,不知該怎麼感謝某乙,只是不斷地說:「沒有您,我今晚就要上吊了!」


他們互報姓名,某甲要以失款的五分之一酬謝某乙,某乙不要;某甲改為十分之一,某乙還是不要;某甲改為百分之一,某乙嚴詞拒絕。某甲於是說:「明天早晨小弟在某某處略備菲酌,恭請仁兄大駕光臨,不見不散。」說完,三人逕自走了。
第二天早晨,某乙居然來了。某甲正要敬酒道謝,某乙卻搶先道謝說:「多虧您昨天丟了銀洋,讓我撿回一條命!我昨天原定在午後一點搭船渡過黃浦江,如今驚聞那艘船在中流遇急浪傾覆,船中23人全都淹死了!」

 

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