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《Chinese Tales for Everyone__ Real and Imaginary: (16) A Fortune and A Maid (17) Rags and Armour,》__ Kong Shiu Loon (53)

Tales Read and Imaginary  
(16) A Fortune and a Maid

Once upon a time, a poor man found an egg and ran home to tell his wife: “We have a fortune here!”

“Where?” asked the wife.

“Right here in this egg. I’ll have our neighbor’s hen hatch it to get a hen. It will lay fifteen eggs in six months. They will hatch to become chickens. Chicks will grow up and reproduce to give us a hundred chickens in a year. I will sell them to buy two calves. They will grow up to reproduce four calves, then many calves in time. We will sell them to be rich. I will buy land, a house and a maid to serve us for a happy life.”

All that the wife heard was her husband buying a maid. In a rage, she smashed the egg on the floor.

The man was furious. He brought the wife to court for ruining a family fortune.

The magistrate heard the case as the man described it in detail. He ruled that the woman did spoil the fortune and be punished by slashing.

The woman pretested: “Everything my husband told you were things to come, not real. Why should I be punished for something not real?”

The magistrate nodded. He said: “The maid you heard him buying is also a delusion, why should you be jealous and smashed his dream?”

He concluded the case telling them to go home in peace: “You were poor but happy before. Don’t let thoughts of greed and delusion to spoil your life.”
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Note: This is a narration from a passage in the book《孟軻述集》. It taught us to accept the realities of life and make the best of them, rather than be consumed by greed or delusion. Either one would lead to disaster or unhappiness. ===================================================================================
Tales Real and Imaginary
(17) Rags and Armour

Once upon a time, a scholar was tired of seeing his country waging war against the neighboring states. He decided to do something about it.

He appeared before his king in court one day, wearing rags. The king was surprised and asked him the reason for his strange and impolite appearance.

“There are clothes worse than rags.” replied the scholar.

“What might that be?” inquired the king.

“Armours are worse than rags.”

“How do you mean? They certainly cost a lot to make,” asked the king.

“Well, armours are cold in winter and hot in summer. And they are ugly and heavy. Your Highness, you are a man of high respect and wealth. I cannot understand why you choose to dress your men in armours. Perhaps you believe an army will help increase your fame, perhaps you wish to increase your wealth and territory. But glories are short-lived and violation of other people’s land will bring revenge. Even a victorious army would dislike the armour. I would much prefer to wear rags and be happy in peace.”

His words gave the king a lot to ponder. He did care for having wisdom and serenity in life. He appointed the scholar to be his counsel.
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Note: This is a narration of a passage in the book 《說苑》. It opens up many questions about war and peace, happiness and adventure, in life as in political ambition.

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