Historical Tale: Zeng Shuqing's Acceptance of Short Term Loss Leads to Long Term Gain
(Clearwisdom.net) During the Northern Song Dynasty, there was a person named Zeng Shuqing who lived in the city of Jianchang. One time he bought a large amount of clayware from the Western River region and was planning to take it to sell in the north. Suddenly he heard that a famine had broken out in the north, so he decided to cancel his trip. Just then a person came to see him and wanted to buy his clayware. After the transaction was complete, Zeng asked the person what he was planning to do with the clayware. The person replied, "I am planning to take the pieces to the north and sell them there." Zeng immediately said, "I had originally planned to do the same thing. But I heard that a famine has just broken out in the north. If the clayware pieces are transported to the north, it might be difficult to sell them there. Therefore I cancelled my trip." That person immediately backed out of the deal and left with the money that he had planned to pay Zeng for the clayware. Because he couldn't sell the clayware, Zeng's entire family soon fell into a destitute situation with no food and no way to keep warm.
Zeng Suqing demonstrated his high moral standard when he told the truth and refused to make life difficult for someone else even at the expense of his own family's welfare. His conduct won the admiration of the people. Later he successfully passed the imperial civil service examination and ended up becoming a high-ranking official. That might have been a reward for his kind deeds.
(From The History of the Song Dynasty)