One’s words and actions reveal our character

July 11, 2010 at 4:13 am | Posted in Asia, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Stories from China | Leave a comment

Source: Sound of Hope

Early culture from all lands embodies a wealth of rich folk-lores.  Again, today’s  simple but reflective idiom on Ancient Tales of Wisdom tells of a classic example  as to how simple acts of kindness, and  good deeds  given from a noble and righteous  heart will in way and time, always reward the selfless giver.

Greetings to you all, and welcome to today’s Ancient Tale of Wisdom. Hi, this is Grace Mann back with you to share more great words from the wise. Today story is about the happening that gave rise to the Ancient Chinese idiom entitled: “Irrigating the Neighbouring States Melon Fields.”

The Chu people were very confused as to why their melons would grow so well - despite their lack of work. (Courtesy kumon/fkr)

The Chu people were very confused as to why their melons would grow so well - despite their lack of work. (Courtesy kumon/fkr)

Song Jiu was a magistrate of Bian County near the border of the Liang State before he became a high-ranking official. On the other side of the border was the Chu State. Both states grew melons, and the border patrols would check out each other’s melon harvests. The Liang State’s people were very diligent in farming and irrigated the melon fields frequently; therefore, their melons grew well. The Chu State’s people often dodged work and neglected tending and irrigating their melon fields. Consequently, their melons grew poorly.

The magistrate of the border county in the Chu State became jealous and irritated when he saw the disparity between the two states’ melons. Influenced by the magistrate, people in his county became jealous and angry with the people of the Liang State. One night a group from  the Chu State sneaked into the Liang State’s melon fields and destroyed some of their melons. The next day when the Liang people saw the state of their melon field, they reported it to the Master of Arms and expressed their wish to retaliate. The Master of Arms reported to magistrate Song Jiu and asked for his approval to reciprocate. Song Jiu replied, “Evil will only beget evil. If you should retaliate against their crimes, you would only make things worse. If my son had a melon field, I’d ask him to irrigate the Chu people’s melon fields at night – and keep his good deed in secret.”

From then on the Liang people followed Song Jui’s words and irrigated the Chu people’s melon fields secretly at night. Sometimes the Chu people would irrigate their melon fields in the day as well, not knowing -they had also been irrigated the night before.  As a result, the melons in the Chu fields grew bigger and better.. The Chu people were very confused as to why their melons would grow so well –  despite their lack of work, so they  began to secretly investigate the issue and discovered it was because the Liang people had been secretly irrigating their melon fields for them nightly. When the magistrate of the Chu State heard this, he was very happy about what their people had discovered and reported it to the King of the Chu State. The King of Chu felt extremely ashamed of his peoples’ actions and told the magistrate, “How could you allow your people to destroy the Liang State’s melon fields? It is obvious that the Liang people are more kind and have a bigger heart than the Chu people.”

Because of the Liang State peoples’ noble deed, The King of Chu sent a lot of money to the Liang State to thank them for their gracious help.  He also expressed his wish to establish friendship between the two states. The two states thus formed a friendly alliance because of Song Jiu’s wisdom.

It is said that it was this Ancient Chinese story that initiated the idiom, “irrigating the neighbouring state’s melon fields,” which in today’s terms means ‘it is not worth fighting over trivial matters.’

It’s been great to be with you again on Ancient Tales of Wisdom.  Stay tuned to the SOH Radio Network to savour the wisdom of old.

Till next time, laugh lots, be happy and may we all remember that ‘it is not worth fighting over trivial matters.’

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