Stories from History: Cao Cong Rescued Officials

Yi Dou

PureInsight | September 16, 2007

[] Cao Cong, son
of Cao Cao, who was the emperor of the Wei during the Three Kingdoms
Period, was a kind and caring person. At that time, there were many
events going on in Wei that Cao Cao had to utilize very severe
punishments to deal with. One day, officials found out that mice had
bitten holes in Cao Cao's saddle stored in a warehouse. The officials
in charge of the warehouse were afraid of being executed for this. They
thought of tying each other up and going to Cao Cao to admit the error
and ask for punishment. But they were still scared of not being
pardoned. Cao Cong said to them: "Please wait two more days before you
go asking for punishment."

So Cao Cong used a knife to poke holes in the clothes he was wearing.
He then put on a worried look every day. Later, When Cao Cao saw him,
he asked Cao Cong the reason. Cao Cong said: "People all say that one
will encounter misfortune if their clothes are bitten to pieces by
mice. Now a mouse has bitten a big hole in my clothes and so I am
worried about it." Cao Cao said: "Don't worry. There is no such thing."
Soon after, the warehouse officials went to Cao Cao to ask for
punishment. Cao Cao laughed loudly and said: "Even the clothing my son
was wearing was bitten through by mice. How can one protect the saddle
hanging on a pole?" So he did not punish any of them.  

From Historic Records of the Three Kingdoms

Translated from:

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