Traditional Culture - Insects Stay Away from an Upright Official
(Clearwisdom.net) Xu Xu was an upright official in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 AD-220 AD). He was also called Jingqing, and he was from Youquan County in the Wu Region (south of today's Jiaxing County, Zhejiang Province). When he was young, he served as an official in charge of prisoners. He was fair and careful in carrying out his legal duties. Later, he was promoted to the position of county commissioner in Xiaohuang County (northeast of today's Kaifeng County, Henan Province).
Shortly after his promotion, insects started destroying a large number of crops in Henan Province. It was hard to find any living plants in the fields, for they had all been eaten by insects. However, the insects, which covered the entire sky and fields, flew by Xiaohuang County without stopping. The plants in the fields were not damaged at all. No farmers in the county bothered to get rid of the insects.
At the time, the top official of the region went to each county for inspection. He found out that no one participated in killing insects in Xiaohuang County. He blamed Xu Xu for not caring about the people's misery, and he was going to severely punish him. No matter how Xu Xu explained the situation, the top official did not believe his story. Xu Xu figured that it was too hard to be an upright official, so he resigned and left.
However, as soon as Xu Xu left his post, the insects flew back. People in the county loved their commissioner, and they were already angered by his forced resignation. Now that the insects were back, the people flocked to the region's government and demanded that the top official restore Xu Xu's position. The top official finally took a look at the situation and listened to what the people were saying. He apologized to Xu Xu and asked him to return to his county commissioner's position. After Xu Xu returned, the insects immediately flew away. People celebrated in exuberance; the official was also amazed.
When Xu Xu held the position, the insects did not invade; when he was dismissed, the insects came immediately; and when he returned to his position, the insects left. According to these events, some have said, "Insects are afraid of the upright official Xu Xu, so they stayed away from Xiaohuang County." Others said, "The insects respected Xu Xu, so they left Xiaohuang County alone and did not harm the crops." Yet others also said, "It's the gods who control the insects, and they prohibited them from damaging the crops in the fields in Xu Xu's jurisdiction." These three theories seemingly contradict each other, but in fact, they do not. The gods are in charge of everything in the human world, so of course they have control over insect plagues or other disasters. The gods could easily prevent insects from damaging farm lands in a righteous official's jurisdiction. It does not matter whether the insects avoided it out of fear or out of respect.
February 21, 2007