One Good Turn Deserves Another

Statue of an ancient soldier on China's Great Wall.

At the end of the Ming Dynasty, a wealthy man was forced to flee from a war with his only son. (Image: Inna Felker via Dreamstime)

This is a story of how one good turn leads to being rewarded by another good turn. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, there was a war led by Li Zicheng. During the war, a wealthy man from Shanxi named Yuan was forced to bring his only son to find refuge. But his son got lost during their hurried retreat. Yuan looked everywhere for him, but he was never found. Yuan was so devastated that he lost nearly all hope for life.

Yuan later journeyed to the south, where he pondered an old Chinese teaching that one needs a son to keep the family line alive. He decided to get married again. One day, he bought a pretty young lady whom he wanted to make his wife. But instead of being happy about her new life, the girl cried silently alone. Yuan was curious and asked her:

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

“It’s our wedding day. Why are you so unhappy? Can you tell me what’s bothering you?

Young Chinese woman posing in traditional clothing outside next to a lake.
Though she was marrying a wealthy merchant, the girl was unhappy about her new life. (Image: Mengzhang via Dreamstime)

The girl had tears in her eyes as she answered:

“I’m sorry, but I feel sad when I think of my past. Do you know that I was married and had a husband who was very kind to me, and who I love very much? But he is very sick these days.

“We couldn’t afford food anymore because of the war. My husband was so frustrated that he wanted to take his own life. In order to help and support him, I decided to sell myself so he could have money for the medicine he needs.

“But now there is nobody by his bedside though he is so ill. I feel very sad, and can’t hold back my tears.”

She again burst into tears.

Yuan’s good turn is rewarded

Upon hearing his new wife’s words, Yuan felt sorry for her. He decided to send her back to her other husband that night. The man was sadly lying in bed alone. He was so surprised to see his wife again that his eyes shone with happiness. Yuan told the man:

“You are lucky to have such a good wife. She told me about you, and I felt sorry for both of you. I’ve decided to send her back to you so the two of you can be together. There’s no need to return the money you received from selling your wife.

“In fact, I will give you some more money. In the future, you can create a small business together so you can have some income.”

The good turn by Yuan to the couple led to another good turn for him.
The wealthy man gave the couple some money so they could start a business together and have some income. (Image: Song Yang via Dreamstime)

He warned him:

“Remember, you should never think of dying again; you should cheer up and bravely face your life because you have such a good wife. All paths are walked by men. As long as you stay hard-working, you will lead a happy life.”

These sincere words moved the couple to tears, and they repeatedly expressed appreciation for Yuan’s kindness. The couple worked very hard and later lived an affluent life. They were grateful for what Yuan had done for them and wanted to find a good young lady to be his concubine, but they couldn’t find one.

One time, they were in Yangzhou for business and saw a man selling a handsome young boy in the market. They decided to give the boy to Yuan as his companion. When they brought the boy to Yuan, he could hardly believe his eyes.

Yuan’s good turn brought him a reward. Right before him was the son he had lost in the chaos of the war — the boy he had looked for everywhere, but could never find. Yuan held his son tightly in his arms.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

Depressed young woman.

7 Practical Ways to Overcome Suicidal Thoughts

Active thoughts about suicide involve clear and precise thoughts about taking your life. There are ...

Global finances.

3 Ways Technology Is Changing the Financial World

The rapid advances in technology are changing everything about the world we live in, from ...

U.S. passport and flag.

U.S. Will Ban Visas for Chinese Human Rights Violators

The United States is looking to restrict the entry of Chinese officials who have been ...

Chinese students listening to a lecture in a classroom.

Why the U.S. Is Restricting Visas to Chinese Students

The U.S. administration has passed a new policy that restricts visas to Chinese students to ...

Fresh Look at Mysterious Nasca Lines in Peru

A scientific approach has been used to re-identify huge birds etched into the desert plains ...

Three-fingered mummy.

Three-Fingered Mummies Discovered in Peru Are Allegedly Not Human

The discovery of three-fingered mummies in Peru last year came as a sensational find. At ...

Taiwanese protesting 'one China, two systems.'

One Country, Two Systems: ‘No Thanks,’ From Taiwan

The mass protests in Hong Kong have become a major international news event over the ...

Ginger tea.

Medicinal Food: 4 Ingredients With Medicinal Value

Wu Guobin of the Chinese Medicine Clinic in Xinyitang describes the medicinal benefits of 4 ...

Fresh ginger.

How Ginger Can Help You Manage Colds and Flu

For thousands of years, ginger has been an important component in the medical practices of ...

Send this to a friend