For a Debt of Seven Pennies


PureInsight | February 24, 2003

[] This is a true story that my grandfather told me. He was a famous doctor in his hometown. Once, after receiving an urgent call from a villager, he took a ferry that same night to see the patient. Since he had arrived very early in the morning and did not want to bother the patient's family, he decided to wait until a more reasonable hour before knocking at the door. In the darkness, he settled himself on the bank beside the ferry to take a nap. While resting, he overheard a conversation between two children.

"Come on, forget about the debt. She's your mother anyway."

"No way. Debt between blood kin is also debt. She owes me, and she has to pay back every penny."
"How much does she owe you?"
"Seven pennies."
"How are you going to get it back?"
"I have my way. Just watch!"

My grandpa suddenly woke up and realized he had been napping, yet the conversation between the two children had seemed so real. He looked around and saw that there were no villages or inns nearby. Where had the two children's voices come from? He was confused. He looked around and found himself sitting among several new tombs. There was one nearby which was very new. The dirt was wet and still fresh.

He was scared. At that moment, at dawn, he saw a young woman approaching. She wore a pretty scarf on her head and a beautiful apron printed with blue flowers, and carried a basket. When she walked closer, he saw she had a small white flower in her hair and she looked deeply grieved. She went to the new tomb, lit some candles and incense, and took out some rice and some small dishes. While crying, she said, "My son, you died so young. Do you know how much I miss you when I see other children? My son, I am so miserable. Please answer if you can hear me…."

Hearing her weeping, he was deeply touched by the sorrow of this young mother who had lost her young son.

All of a sudden, the young woman's apron caught fire from the candle. By the time she had extinguished the fire, her beautiful apron was burned on one corner. She cried, "I just bought this apron yesterday for seven pennies."

His eyes grew wide and his mouth fell open in shock. He realized that her son had gotten back the seven pennies that she owed him.

Translated from:

Add new comment