Story from History: Li Mian's Kind Words

Yi Dou

PureInsight | October 1, 2006

[] The first
year of the Zhi De period of the Tang Dynasty (756 A.D) was the time
when the An Shi Rebellion was in its most rampant state. Su Zong, the
emperor, was then taking refugee in the city of Ling Wu. During that
time, more than one hundred captives from the rebelling side were sent
over from the Guandong area, and Emperor Su Zong issued an imperial
edict to execute all of them. One person among the captives sighed
towards the sky. Li Mian, a royal official, happened to be passing by
and overhead it. He asked the captive why he was sighing. The captive
said, "I was forced to serve as an official there and I did not rebel
within my true heart."

So, Li Mian submitted a written appeal to the Emperor saying, "Too many
people were forced to serve under the leaders of the rebellion and many
of them want to change their minds and renew their allegiance to the
court. If they are all killed, it would be like chasing all the people
in the world to the side of the traitor." Tang Su Zong urgently ordered
a pardon for the captives. From then on, every day many former rebels
came to pledge allegiance to the Emperor.

When the An Shi Rebellion first started, no one dared to resist the
rebel troops. People all thought that the Tang Dynasty had come to its
end. But eventually it was able to recover from the rebellion and
become prosperous once again. It might have something to do with Li
Yuan's kind words and the emperor's readiness to listen.

 (from the Old Book of Tang Dynasty)

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