Stories from History: Making Hot Rice Gruel for Servants

Hong Yi

PureInsight | November 5, 2006

[] Wanli Yang's
wife from Song Dynasty was more than seventy years old.  She
always got up very early when it was really cold. She would then go to
the kitchen in the backyard right away after she got up. She skillfully
lit a fire, boiled water and made a large batch of rice gruel. It took
a long time to make a caldron of gruel. Mrs. Yang waited patiently.
After a while, the sweet gruel fragrance gradually filled up the
kitchen and spread to the courtyard.

On the other side of the yard, the servants got up one by one
accompanied by this familiar fragrance. After they washed, they came to
the kitchen and received a full big bowl of rice gruel from Madame
Yang. After they drank the hot rice gruel, both their hearts and bodies
felt very warmed.

Madame Yang's son Yang Dongshan saw his mother was busy all morning and
felt sorry. He said, "The weather is so cold, why bother to get up so
early and do such hard work?" Madame Wang said sincerely, "Even though
they are the servants, they are also children who are loved and worried
about by their parents. Now the weather is so cold, and they still need
to work for our family. I let them drink the hot gruel to make them
warm so that they will not catch cold when they work."

Traditional Chinese Culture says, "Expand the respect that one has
toward one's elders to those of other families; expand the love that
one has toward one's own children toward those of other families." It
suggests treating others as you would like to be treated. This fine
tradition of respecting the elderly and caring for children reflects
the moral idea in the traditional Chinese Culture of broad loving
everything in the world.

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