(Minghui.org) In ancient China, there was a place called Zhuya County, which is today Longtang Town, Haikou City, Hainan Province. A stepmother and stepdaughter offered their life to save the lives of others. The good deed touched the hearts of the officials.

The mayor of the Zhuya County had a daughter who was 13 years old. Her mother passed away. Her father was married again, and had a son who was 9 years old.

Zhuya County was rich in pearls. Therefore a law was enacted – when smuggling pearls, or taking pearls out of town without a permit – people would be given the death penalty.

When the mayor passed away, the family wanted him to be buried in his hometown. The stepmother had a pearl bracelet that she always wore, but could not take it along when leaving town.

The boy did not know about the law. He saw the bracelet, picked it up and put it into his mother’s jewelry box. Nobody noticed it.

When they were at the gate of the town, the official searched the luggage and found the pearl bracelet. He asked: “Who is responsible for this matter?”

The stepdaughter thought that the stepmother was the culprit. To save her stepmother, she said: “My father passed away. My stepmother had thrown the bracelet away. I felt it was a pity so I picked it up and put it into her jewelry box. My stepmother didn't know about it.”

The stepmother thought it was true, but she treasured her stepdaughter a lot. She told the officer: “I always wore this bracelet. Sadly my husband passed away. I took off the bracelet but could not bear to throw it away. I put it in my jewelry box. I should get the death penalty.”

Stepmother and stepdaughter were sobbing and everyone was moved. The officer was at a loss and felt sorrow throughout the day. He just could not sentence any one to death and said: “A stepmother and a stepdaughter showed such great kindness and loyalty towards each other. I can’t sentence either of you to death, even if I will be punished by doing so.”

After the inquiry, they found that it was the boy who unknowingly committed a crime.

Reference: Taiping Imperial Encyclopedia, Vol. 415, Part 56 People&Events, by Li Fang (Song Dynasty)