Story from History: A Wise and Tolerant Official

Hong Yi

PureInsight | September 17, 2006

[] Wang Dan, a high-ranking official during the Song Dynasty, recommended Kou Zhun for the position of Prime Minister to the Emperor. After he became the Prime Minister, Kou Zhun often pointed out Wang Dan's shortcomings in front of the Emperor, while Wang Dan only praised Kou Zhun in front of the Emperor.

One day the Emperor said to Wang Dan, "Although you often praise Kou Zhun, he, on the other hand, always tells me about the mistakes you've made."

Wang Dan replied, "This is very reasonable, because I served as the Prime Minister for many years and must have made many mistakes in my job. Kou Zhun hasn't tried to hide my mistakes from you, Majesty. It shows his loyalty to you even more, and this is also why I think highly of him." The Emperor's admiration toward Wang Dan grew even more after their conversation.
Wang Dan had enormous tolerance and no one had ever seen him lose his temper. When the food was not good or clean, he would never say anything and just simply didn't eat that day.

Some family members wanted to test his tolerance and added some ink dust into his meat soup. Wang Dan still said nothing and just ate the rice that day.

A family member asked him why he hadn't touched the meat soup. Wang Dan said, "It just happens that I don't want to eat meat today."

One day, a family member put ink dust into Wang Dan's rice bowl. When Wan Dan saw the ink dust in his rice bowl, he simply told the servant, "I don't want to eat rice today. Please prepare some porridge for me."

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