Stories from History: Xiang Xiong Cried for his Old Master

Yi Dou

PureInsight | November 11, 2007

[] Xiang Xiong
was born in Henei Jun in the Weijin dynasty. Governor Wang Jing in
Henei Jun promoted Xiang Xiong to the Zhubu. Later, the Sima family
seized power from the Cao family and established the Jin dynasty. When
Wang Jing was executed, Xiang Xiong cried heartrendingly at the
execution ground. The citizens were very touched by that. The new
governor came to office and had him flogged and then imprisoned him.
The Silixiaowei Zhong Hui rescued Xiang Xiong and appointed him as the

Later on Zhong Hui united the western Shu and planned to be
independent. He failed, however and died in battle. No one dared to
bury Zhong Hui. Only Xiang Xiong went to collect Zhong Hui's body
despite the great distance. The emperor Wen was very angry and had
Xiang Xiong arrested. He asked Xiang Xiong: "When Wan Jing died, you
were crying for him at the ground, but I ignored it. This time, even
though Zhong Hui was a rebel, you went to collect his body and held his
funeral. If I tolerate this, what will the people think of me?"

Xiang Xiong said: "When King Wen in the Zhong dynasty had the dead
buried, his mercy extended to the dead. I have never heard that we have
to judge the merits and demerits of dead people and then decide whether
to bury them or not. Since they were already dead, the orders of your
Majesty have been implemented. I buried them due to my moral sense.
This shows the world that it is a principle that one has to repay
generosity. Wouldn't such a principle make it easier  to rule the
country? Isn't it a good thing to do? Or would your Majesty like me to
feel guilty about the dead and live mindlessly?" The emperor was
pleased with what Zhong Hui said and so treated him with a banquet and
then let him go.

There were many people like Xiang Xiong in the Chinese history, so
there is a Chinese saying: when one receives a kindness even so little
as a drop from others, he/she ought to repay it with a spring.

Translated from:

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