Virtuous and Honest Deeds Always Bring Good Returns

PureInsight | November 28, 2005

[] Meng Xin was born in the township of Suolu in Guangchuang County (today's Changshan county in Shandong Province) in the Later Wei Dynasty. His family was so poor that he had to give up going to school and join the army. He served in the army for many years and eventually became a high-ranking official, the governor of Zhao Ping County. He promoted kindness, tolerance and peacefulness in the county. Local landlords and thugs dared not commit evil deeds or violate the laws. Throughout his public service, he conducted himself strictly and lived a simple life without ever being corrupt. After he left his official post, his family became very poor that they hardly had enough food to have three meals a day. He had only one steer that had become sick. The family really needed some rice and firewood. So his nephew decided to hide the fact that the steer was sick and found a buyer for the steer. He and the buyer had already signed a contract when Meng Xing returned home and found out what was going on. He said to the buyer, "The steer is sick. It will become ill as soon as you ask it to do any work. It won't do you much good." Then he turned around and punished his nephew by scolding and hitting him a few times. He scolded his nephew for not telling the buyer that the steer was sick. The buyer was very moved. He stood aside and sighed for a long time before he left.

Emperor Zhou Wen heard about what had happened. He appreciated Meng Xing's virtuous acts of being kind and honest to others. He asked Meng to become the teacher to the crown prince and gave him a special high-ranking position. Meng served in the royal court for many more years and finally returned home with high honor when he became very old. Scholars and Confucians at the time were deeply proud of his behavior.

The History of the Later Han records a similar story. Zhu Mu lived in Han Dynasty. He raised many pigs at his home. A pig became sick. He asked a family member to sell it in the market. He specifically told the family member that the pig was ill and should be sold at a cheap price. The family member went to the market and sold the pig right away without mentioning the illness. The price was much higher than what Zhu had expected. When Zhu Mu heard what had happened, he hurried to the market and returned half the money to the buyer. The buyer didn't want to take it back. Zhu Mu left the money and left. His great honesty and virtue are comparable to Meng Xing's.

From "Collection and Translation of Reflections on History".

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