On the Way to the Imperial Examination

Zhuo Hai

PureInsight | October 28, 2007

[PureInsight.org] In ancient
times, students and scholars considered attending the imperial
examination in the capital extremely important. After persevering for
10 years in one's studies despite hardships, after passing the county
and provincial civil-service examinations, one could then become
qualified to attend the imperial examination in the capital. It was not
only a tremendous honor, it also had to do with one's future and
achieving one's aspirations.

There was a scholar named Peng Jiao in the Ming dynasty. He was born in
the third year of Zhengtong of Emperor Yingzong  (1438) in Jiangxi
Province. In the eighth year of Tianshun of Emperor Yingzong, on his
way to the capital to attend the imperial examination, he stayed in a
tavern one night. His servant saw a gold bracelet on the ground when
someone emptied a washbasin of water from upstairs. He picked it up and
put it in his clothes.

After walking over two weeks on their way, Peng Jiao noticed that his
money was about to run out and was anxious about it. When his servant
took out the gold bracelet and suggested trading it for money, Peng
Jiao was greatly surprised. When he heard the story about how the
servant came by the gold bracelet, Peng Jiao wanted to return to the
tavern immediately to return the gold bracelet. His servant was very
perplexed and said: "If we go back we will miss the imperial
examination." Peng Jiao said: "This bracelet must belong to a woman. If
she loses it, her parents will suspect she has given it to someone. And
the intense interrogation that could follow might cost a life." They
thus hurried back to the tavern. Just as he had expected, the woman who
lost the gold bracelet was about to commit suicide. The bracelet had
saved her life.

Even though they pressed forward day and night to reach the capital,
Peng Jiao still missed the examination. The imperial examination was
the most important thing for scholars. But Peng Jiao put aside his own
future and hurried back to the tavern to save a life. It wasn't really
a simple decision to make.

Good people are always rewarded with good fortune. Peng Jiao's good
deed didn't turn out badly. There was a big fire in the examination
hall during the examination and many people died. The imperial court
decided, therefore, to have another examination in August. Not being
greedy about getting money, Peng Jiao not only saved a life, but also
avoided a calamity. In the August examination, he won the title
conferred on the top scorer in the highest imperial examination.


Translated from:


Add new comment