Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Another Grandmother's Story - Silver and Gold

My grandmother started training her grandchildren to think about looking after their parents as early as possible. So one day when I was about eight and most of my cousins were around that age, she told us this story:

In a Fuzhow/Foochow village, in China, there lived a man who was very wise.

One day he sensed that something was not too right about his daughter in law who was already very uneasy at the table whenever they were eating. She was beginning to show a little more impatience, a little more disrespect towards him. His son was meanwhile working extremely hard in the farm .

As he became more and more uneasy with the daughter in law's behaviour, he went into deep thought.

One evening, knowing that his daughter in law was in the next room sewing, he pulled out a drawer very loudly and started counting, "One, two, three....."

The daughter in law was curious and so she peeped through a crack in the wall. She saw the old man with his back towards her and he was counting something he had taken fromthe drawer.

She then heard him say," These silver and gold threads will keep my son and grandchildren well for a long time. I am glad I have been saving them . What lovely gold and silver." After saying that , he shut the drawer and had it locked very carefully. He kept the key in his breast pocket and went to sleep happily.

The next day, the daughter in law was very changed. She had prepared hot porridge for him and even had some conditments on the table. She waited on him as he ate. She even poured more tea for him.

The old man knew that his daughter in law had heard what he said.

In this way the old man lived out his last years very happily.

When he died, very peacefully, the whole village came to his funeral and the son and daughter in law and grandchildren wept loudly.

After the funeral, the daughter in law quickly opened the drawer. Alas, she found only some copper wires and a few bags of ginseng.

But upon reflection, she realised that her home had been at peace and that her family had gained a lot of respect from her neighbours for a long time. She had not lost but gained.

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