Classical Chinese philosophy and stories: Neighbors and jade (邻人献玉)

Once upon tine in the ancient state of Wei, a farmer was plowing when he suddenly heard some unusual sound indicating that the plough was stopped by some hard object in the soil. He dig the soil and found a different stone which was in high gloss. The farmers did not know that it was jade, thus he went to one of his neighbors. The neighbor saw that it was a piece of rare jade, then immediately some evil idea was generated. The neighbor compiled a set of lies and told the farmer that: “This is an ominous thing, sooner or later it would give birth to evil. You must throw it away right now.” Farmer was undecided and thought that: “what a shame to throw away such a beautiful stone if it is not a ominous thing.” The farmer hesitated for a moment, but finally decided to put it outside the house to see what will happen next.

That night, the jade suddenly shone, the light was so strong that it was like in the day time. The whole family of the farmer was stunned by this magical scene. So he ran to seek help from the neighbor. The neighbor took the opportunity and frightened the farmer and said: “This is a stone of demons, you must immediately throw away the stone to get rid of the evil!” After hearing this, the farmer hurried to throw the jade into the wild land. Shortly after that, the neighbor went to the field and collected the jade and went back to home.

On the next day, the neighbor dedicated this piece of jade to the king of Wei. The king summoned a jade expert to judge the value. The expert was shocked by the raw jade and knelt down to the King and said: “Congratulations to my Majesty, this is a rare treasure, I had never seen a big jade like this in such good quality. The King asked:”how much does this jade worth?” The expert said:” This is a priceless treasure, it is difficult to calculate the value of money. There are a variety of jade in the world, but no one is comparable with this.” The king was glad to hear this and ordered to reward the man 500 kilogram gold as well as a lifetime salary as a government official to the man.

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