Good Actions are Rewarded with Good Returns
(Clearwisdom.net) There was a gentleman in Jiangxi Province whose last name was Shu. He taught in an old style private school in another province for two years. Later, he went back home together with a man from his local area by boat. On the way, when the boat stopped for a rest, Mr. Shu went on shore for a walk. He heard a woman crying sadly. So he went up to her and asked why she was crying. The woman answered, "I am crying because my husband owed the government thirteen ounces of silver [money used at the time] and decided to sell me to pay the debt. If I am gone, there would be no one to nurse my baby, and he will surely die." Mr. Shu said, "People who travel with me are all private school teachers from Jiangxi Province. As long as everyone donates one ounce of silver, your trouble will be solved." So Mr. Shu went back on the ship and told the others what was happening. However, nobody really cared about it. So Mr. Shu gave all his savings of the past two years to the woman.
When they were about ninety miles away from home, Mr. Shu had used up all his money and food. People traveling with him gossiped over his "error." Some of them were sympathetic and invited him to eat with them, but Mr. Shu dared not eat too much.
After he arrived home, he told his wife, "I have been hungry for two days! Hurry up and cook some food for me."
His wife answered, "We ran out of rice." Mr. Shu said, "Go and borrow some from the neighbor." His wife replied, "I have borrowed many times from the neighbor and have been waiting for you to come back and repay them."
Mr. Shu told his wife what happened on his way back home. His wife said, "If that's the case, let me get some wild plants that I eat every day." So she went to the mountain with a basket and picked some bitter greens. She cooked them, roots and all, and they ate them.
When they went to bed that night, they heard somebody say outside window, "Having bitter greens today will bring you a Number One Scholar [title conferred on the one who came first in the highest imperial examination] next year." When they heard that, the two hurried to get up and put on their clothes. They kowtowed to the sky. The next year, they gave birth to a son named Shu Feng. When he grew up, he was indeed conferred the title of Number One Scholar.