Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Gentleman on the Beam

If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the page where I found this story.

The Gentleman on the Beam

In the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD), there lived a man called Chen Shi, who had been the head of a county. He was admired and respected by people for his fine morality and good reputation. He was ready to be promoted, instead he retired for some political reasons and lived in his hometown since then.

One year, turmoil and war took place because of a terrible famine. Robberies and thieves were rampant in that area.

One night a thief got into the house of Chen Shi through one of the windows. The thief was about start his deal when Chen Shi got up to relieve himself. So the thief hid himself on the beam immediately.

Chen Shi had noticed the thief but he pretended to know nothing about him. After he tied the belt around his waist, instead of calling the thief down, he called his sons up and then spoke out to them, "Listen!" the father declared, "As a man, one should act straightly and firmly. He should do good deeds all his life. And I don't think those who serve the devils have an instinct for evil." The address made by the father in the middle of the night puzzled the sons. They didn't know what on earth had happened. And then the father raised his voice and continued, "You must remember that one can be short of property, however, he must stand on his dignity." The father hinted for his sons what he said was all aimed to the man on the beam.

The thief felt very sorry and shamed for what he did. So he began to weep on the beam. Later, he climbed down and knelt before Chen Shi, "I'm terribly sorry, but that is all because of the famine and the war." At last Chen Shi forgave him, gave him some cloth, and let him go.

Though the thief in the story was a little commiserated with, yet he was regarded as a thief admittedly. Since then such a person has got another name, that is, THE GENTLEMAN ON THE BEAM.

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