Written by Frank M. Lin 3/26/2017 3:55 am @ Hayward, California – Added English translation of the story. See below… 義 standards for righteousness. So this is the story about doing the right thing.
Written by Frank M. Lin 12/31/2016 9:17 am @ San Francisco, California – This is one of my favorite true tales from the old days and it was taught in elementary school back in Taiwan. It happened around 2300 years ago.
Version 1: 馮煖買義：
Characters: Mr. Mong 孟嘗君 – Mong was a very well off gentleman that was famous for having a big compound that housing 3000 (!!) people who lived off him. He provided food and housing to all these people because he was searching for talents to help him. What a generous guy!
Characters: Fong 馮驩 – Fong was among one of many that came to live with Mr. Mong.
Fong wanted to come to the compound so he asked a friend to recommend him to Mr. Mong. When they first met Mr. Mong asked Fong “Do you have any hobbies?”, Fong replied “no”. Mr. Mong asked “Do you have any skills?”, Fong also replied “no”. Initially Mr. Mong thought Fong was there just to take advantage of the situation. But to Mr. Mong, feeding one more person is not a big deal so he accepted Fong anyway.
Back then everyone had a sword. One day Fong was talking to his sword and said “Hey sword, let us go home. There is no fish to eat here.”, Mr. Mong heard this, and started provide fish on the food menu. A little while later Fong talked to his sword again and this time he said, “Hey sword, let us go home. We don’t have a horse carriage to ride here.”, Mr. Mong heard this, and started providing horse carriage access to Fong. By now many of Mr. Mong staff start to think Fong is too greedy and they start to dislike him. A while later, Fong once again said to his sword “Hey sword, let us go home. It’s not possible to make a living here to support the family.”, now all the staff are outraged thinking wow this Fong guy comes to eat and live at the compound but he doesn’t do anything. Mr. Mong asked Fong, “Do you have any blood relatives to support?”, Fong replied “my old mother.”, Mr. Mong made sure Fong’s mom is well taken care of. From then on, Fong never talked to his sword again.
One year, Mr. Mong needed to send someone to his hometown to collect rent from the farmers who rented land from Mr. Mong. Fong volunteered to go. Fong asked Mr. Mong if he should bring back anything from the trip. Mr. Mong said just get whatever you think we need at the house.
Shortly after Fong came back rather quickly. Normally it takes a while to collect all the rent. Fong was back very fast so Mr. Mong asked what did he buy to bring back? Fong replied well sir I see you have plenty of properties, lots of pretty girls to serve you and the only thing you were missing was righteousness. It has been a very tough year to grow crops due to drought. So I told the farmers you knew of this and said no rent this year. I’ve bought you righteousness with the rent money. Mr. Mong was a bit upset and said, okay you can go rest now.
Mr. Mong held a key position in a country but some people were jealous of him and set him up to fail. He was told to go into early retirement by the King. So Mr. Mong took all the crew and moved back home… when he arrived he received an extremely warm welcome because all the farmers greatly appreciate the rent free year. Mr. Mong now finally learn what Fong meant when he said he bought righteousness. 🙂
This was one of my favorite stories from history.