Stories from History: Forgiving the Faults of Others

Yi Dou

PureInsight | June 3, 2007

[] Bingji, a
prime minister in the Han dynasty, was kind to others. Once, when his
chauffeur followed him out, the chauffer was so drunk that he vomited
on the prime minister's vehicle.  Bingji's manager wanted to fire
the chauffer, but Bingji said: "Would anyone hire him if they find out
that he was drunk and got fired? Let forget about it. After all, he
only soiled the car cushion."

The chauffer was from a border district and was familiar with the
procedures for transmitting documents from the border. Once, when he
went out and saw horses from courier station carrying two bags in red
and white rushing by. He knew there was an urgent military situation at
the border. He thus went to a government office to inquire about it and
found out that the Northern tribes were invading the Yunzhong and Dai

The chauffer rushed back and reported the event to the prime minister.
He said: "I am worried that, since the officials at these two
prefectures are old and in poor health, when they encounter warfare,
they won't know how to handle it."  

Bingji agreed and called in the officials from the Ministry of Civil
Appointments to inquire about the situation of the officials in those
two prefectures. Before he was able to completely work it out, the
emperor summoned the prime minister and the imperial censor and told
them: "The Northern tribes have invaded prefectures of Yunzhong and
Dai. How should the officials in those prefectures handle the

Bingji gave a very specific answer. The emperor was very pleased. But
the imperial censor was unable to provide a satisfactory answer all of
a sudden and was reprimanded.

Forgiving others' faults often receives double compensation. Those who seek revenge are foolish.

From The Han History

Translated from:

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