Weichi Jingde's Money

PureInsight | July 28, 2003

[PureInsight.org] Near the end of Sui Dynasty there was a poor scholar who lived in Taiyuan City. This scholar earned his meager income from teaching. His home was near an official storehouse. One day he went into it and found several thousand strings of cash. He could not help taking some of the cash. At the same moment, a man in golden armor suddenly appeared and pointed a weapon at him saying, "If you want money, you must get permission from Duke Weichi. His name is Weichi Jingde. This is his money."

The scholar didn't know who Weichi Jingde was. He started looking for him everywhere. One day, he arrived at a forge and was told that the blacksmith's name was Weichi Jingde. He was busy hammering iron with his upper body naked and hair messy. When the blacksmith stopped working and took a break, the scholar went up and spoke the formal greeting. Weichi Jingde asked him why he paid him such a formal greeting. The scholar said, "I'm very poor and you are very rich. I wonder whether you could give me 500 strings of coins." Weichi Jingde became very upset and said, "I'm a poor blacksmith. How can I be a rich man? Why are you insulting me?"

The scholar said, "If you could have pity on me, please give me a written note. You'll understand in the future what is going on." Weichi Jingde gave up and told the scholar to write a note for himself. The notice said that the blacksmith was giving 500 strings of coins to the scholar. Weichi then dated it and signed it.

The scholar paid his grateful respects and left with the note. Weichi and his apprentices laughed at him since they thought he was absolutely absurd.

The scholar returned to the storehouse where he met the man in golden armor again. He gave him the note. The man smiled and said, "Right," and asked the scholar to hang up the note on the beam of the storehouse and to take exactly 500 strings of cash.

A few years later, Weichi Jingde joined the army of Li Shimin. He rose in the ranks, and became a general and a close associate of Li Shimin. Li Shimin and his father eventually overthrew the corrupt Sui dynasty, and Li Shimin himself later became Emperor Tang Taizong. Because of his outstanding military service and contribution to the country, Weichi Jingde was given the title of Duke Weichi. When it was time for him to retire, Emperor Tang Taizong awarded him a lot of money and a storehouse, which had never been touched. After the storehouse was opened and the money had been checked, 500 strings of coins were found missing. When he was just about to punish the storehouse guard, Weichi suddenly found a note hanging up on the house beam. He recognized the note as the one that was written when he was a blacksmith. When he finally got over his astonishment a couple of days later, he privately sent someone to look for the scholar. The scholar was found and he told Weichi the whole story. Weichi Jingde gave him a lot of money and distributed the rest of the property in the storehouse to all the friends he had made when he was a blacksmith.

The man in the golden armor must have been someone extraordinary.

Translated from http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/6/26/22235.html

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