(Clearwisdom.net) During the late Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD), there was a scholar living in Taiyuan City of Shanxi Province. He was very poor as he made his living by teaching young children and had a big family to support.

His home was very close to an official warehouse. One day, he sneaked into the warehouse and discovered tens of thousands of strings of coins. [Editor's note: Chinese coins had holes in them and were threaded on strings to be carried.] He could not help taking a few. At that precise moment, a man holding a spear and dressed in golden armor appeared in front of him. The man said, "If you want to take this money, you must get a note from Sir Weichi. The money here belongs to Weichi Jingde."

The scholar then looked everywhere for Weichi Jingde, but for quite some time he could not find such a person.

One day, he went to a blacksmith's shop and learned that one of the blacksmiths there was named Weichi Jingde. He entered the workshop and saw the barebacked, messy-haired Weichi, who was forging iron.

The scholar waited until Weichi stopped to take a break. He then went up to greet him very respectfully. Weichi was surprised and asked him, "Why have you, a scholar, come to see me?" The scholar replied, "My family is poor while you are very rich. I would like to ask you for 500 strings of coins. Would you please grant me that request?" Weichi was outraged, saying, "I am a blacksmith. How could I be rich? Are you insulting me?" The scholar then said, "Please have pity on me. Just write a note and give it to me. You will know what's going on in the future." Weichi figured he had nothing to lose, so he asked the scholar to write the note himself. The scholar wrote on a piece of paper: "I give [and he wrote his own name] 500 strings of coins." The he dated it, and Weichi endorsed the note by signing it.

The scholar thanked him and left with the note. Weichi and his apprentices could not help but laugh. They thought the scholar was simply absurd.

The scholar went back to the warehouse. He again met the man in golden armor and presented the note to him. The man in armor read the note and smiled. "This is correct," he said and asked the scholar to hang the note on the roof beam. He allowed the scholar to take 500 strings of coins and made certain it was 500 strings only.

Several years later, Weichi Jingde became a general for Li Shiming, Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, and earned great merits. When he retired and returned to his hometown, Emperor Taizong awarded him a whole warehouse of assets.

Weichi's subordinates opened the warehouse and checked the assets against the accounting book. They noticed that 500 strings of coins were missing. As they were about to punish the warehouse keeper, they suddenly noticed the note hanging on the roof beam. They notified Weichi, who was in shock for several days after he lsaw the note. He sent his people to look for the scholar.

After they found the scholar, the scholar explained to Weichi in great detail what he had experienced inside the warehouse those many years before. Weichi rewarded the scholar handsomely and shared his assets in the warehouse with his old friends.

This story tells us that heaven determines one's fortune and wealth, and not even a tiny error is permitted in the accounting.

Source: Anecdote of Tang Dynasty, Chapter of Weichi Jingde