A sword found in a field had unfathomable power.
Ancient tales and legends abound about people or objects having magical and mysterious powers. However, it’s said that as humanity has believed in these things less and less, they have gradually disappeared.
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It was well-known that if these things were handled carelessly or incorrectly, they would disappear or even bring about a bad result. However, sometimes even a small, thoughtless act can lead to deep regret.
A sword worth 1 million guan
One day, while working in a field, a farmer happened upon a sword partially buried in the earth. Intrigued, he dug it out and took it home, where he carefully cleaned and polished it. The shiny blade seemed to emit a rare power, something the farmer had never seen before.
Thinking it might have some resale value, the farmer took the sword to the local market to try to sell it. Not long after he arrived, a tribesman from the northern part of China appeared from the crowd and fell in love with it.
He offered the farmer 1,000 wen (an ancient currency unit), but the farmer was not satisfied. So the tribesman increased the offer to 100 guanzi (a unit larger than wen), but the farmer decided he didn’t want to sell it, so he packed it up and headed home.
Undeterred, the tribesman followed the farmer to his house, continuing to yell out his offer as they walked. After some haggling, they finally settled on the astronomical price of 1 million guanzi and planned to pay the transaction the following day.
A careless act
After the tribesman left, the farmer and his wife strolled the courtyard under the beautiful moonlit sky, unable to believe their good fortune. As they examined the sword, they wondered, “What’s so special about this sword? Is it so special that a tribesman would offer such a high price?”
As the couple walked and chatted, the farmer casually pointed the sword at a piece of stone on the ground that they used to pound clothes. Surprisingly, the rock split in half, but they didn’t think much about it and kept talking about the considerable fortune they would make the next day.
The magical sword could be used only once
Early the following day, anxious to get his dream sword, the tribesman showed up with a cart carrying 1 million guanzi. As he took it and examined it closer, he was shocked at what he saw. He said to the farmer, “The ray on the sword disappeared! What did you do?” He told the farmer he no longer wanted it and wished to rescind the deal.
Confused, the farmer demanded an explanation. The tribesman said unhappily: “This sword can split a mountain — but it can be used only once. I wanted to split Baoshan mountain with the sword, but now its luster is gone! Did you use it on something?”
After hearing what it could do, it dawned on the couple that they had inadvertently used it the night before to split the pounding stone. They deeply regretted what they had done and told the tribesman what had happened.
Ultimately, the tribesman bought the sword for 10,000 wen, slightly higher than his initial offer. But, swept up in desire and greed, the farmer and his wife had acted carelessly and were left with only a tiny fraction of the immense fortune they had imagined.
Who knew such a simple act could cause everlasting regret?