Classical Chinese philosophy and stories: An old man from Li Qiu (黎丘老丈)

In the ancient state of Wei, there was a village called Li Qiu which was located in the north of the capital city of Daliang. It was believed that there were often ghosts who loved to dress up as relatives of the pedestrians and made fun of them.

One day, an old man who lived in rural area of Li Qiu was drunk and walking home. Halfway home a ghost pretended to look like the old man’s son and hypocritically helped the elderly, but actually pushed or punched the old man bringing great suffering to him along the way. When back home, the old man was too tired that he fell asleep quickly.

On the next day, the old man woke up and angrily said to his son: “I am your father, you have the obligations to honor me but yesterday on the way home you made me suffer terribly, is this because I did not treat you well or you have other intentions? ”

The son heard this which was like storm in the sunny day to him, he shed tears and said: “This is really a sin! How could I do such unjust thing? After you left home yesterday, I went to another village to collect debts, if you do not believe me, go and ask some one there.”

The old man knew that his son had always been honest with filial piety, so he believed his son’s words. After a while he suddenly thought about the rumors and realized that it was the ghost that played him, then he came up with a trick to kill the ghost. On the evening of the same day, he went to the fair and get drunk again. On the next morning, he planned to kill the ghost on the way home. The son of the old man worried that his father may not go home by himself and thus came to pick up his father. As the son found the old man, the old man thought that the ghost came again. When the son approached, the old man took out the sword and stabbed the son and killed him.

The fable tells that when people do not distinguish the genuine from the counterfeit, fraud may succeed resulting in sad consequences.

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