Most of the Chinese tales belonging to the tradition date back to several centuries ago. Even today, however, they are appreciated as an ideal tool with which to transmit values and stimulate reflection from generation to generation and in a highly educational key.
Almost all of these Chinese tales are about the rural world, describing country life and values such as work, humility and respect. Much of it has kings, sages and common men as protagonists.
Although these are ancient tales, they transmit lessons that are also valid for today’s world. Precisely for this reason we have chosen these stories from the Chinese tradition as an example of profound moral teachings.
3 Chinese stories about life
1. A surprising discovery
The first story tells that of a man who was a hard worker and who lived in a country village. He owned fertile lands, but he had to deal with a problem: he didn’t have a well. The water was very far from his land and this hampered his work.
Every evening he had to travel over three kilometers to reach the nearest well. He returned late at night, with the jars full of water. This allowed him to satisfy his most basic needs and feed the earth, but it was very tiring. His neighbors did not help him.
Tired of the situation, the man convinced himself to dig a well. It was too difficult a job for one person, but he had no alternative. It took him more than a month to complete this task, but in the end he succeeded : he finally had a well from which pure water flowed. A curious neighbor asked him about the enterprise and the farmer replied: “I dug a well and at the bottom I found a man”.
The news spread quickly everywhere. He aroused such emotion that the king of those lands himself sent for the farmer to have the facts explained. “My lord,” he said, “ before I got a well my arms were always busy fetching and carrying water. Now my arms are free to work the land: I have recovered the man I am “.
2. Chinese tales: the sprouts that don’t grow
The second story tells of a small village in a remote part of the world. There lived a rather greedy man who lived with the family relatively in harmony. His harvest was prosperous, but he was never satisfied with the result.
One day he sowed the land with particular dedication, because he wanted to obtain the harvest of a particular variety of wheat, brought up there from distant lands. They had assured him that it was of superior quality, with lush ears and delicious flavor.
Precisely for this reason, man sowed all his land with the seeds in question and began to make great plans for the future. He would make huge profits and, perhaps, he could buy more land and live in luxury.
Still, the weeks passed and the sprouts were struggling to sprout. There were some who, despite the care, grew very slowly. The man had begun to despair, he could not bear this, so he decided to do something. Here he pruned the small plants that were growing, thinking of helping them to grow.
The next day, however, the sprouts were dead. The man had forgotten that these were particular seeds, which took longer to grow. He did not understand that there is a time for everything and that intervening on the mechanisms of nature leads to failure.
3. The prince and the doves
Once upon a time there was a noble-minded and wise prince over whose lands great harmony reigned. Everyone loved the rulers who always imposed just laws that contributed to the well-being of the people.
In that kingdom a very particular ritual took place: with the arrival of the new year the peasants used to give doves to the prince.
In those days, a stranger passed by and was curious about that strange ritual. He witnessed the rite of people who, from all over, brought doves as gifts to the prince. He stood there for a while, intrigued by what the ruler would do with those unusual gifts.
Here the prince gathered all the doves in a cage and then released them. Those present cheered and showed consent.
On that occasion an elder made space among the multitude and respectfully asked permission to speak. The prince listened to him and the old man asked him how many doves he had managed to collect. The prince answered about 200.
The elder replied: “To bring these 200 doves, the men went hunting and killed about 600. What merit do you think you have now, releasing those who remained alive? ” The prince understood his mistake and forbade the ritual. The stranger took with him a great lesson in life from those lands.
These Chinese stories invite us to reflect and, in some cases, to question our point of view on the world, on society and on ourselves. Without forgetting, however, that everyone will receive the message transmitted in their own way.