Skip to main content

With sports and embroidered garments, Lao Lâi-dze amused his parents

In the Chow dynasty, in the country of Tsoo (楚国) lived the venerable Lâi-dze (Lao Lâi-dze 老莱子), who was very obedient and reverential towards his parents, manifesting his dutifulness by exerting himself to provide them with every delicacy.

When Lao Lâi-dze overheard his parents lamenting one day, "Look at our son, he's already in his dotage! Surely our own days must be drawing to a close!" His heart could not endure the helpless feelings that arose. Although upwards of severty of years of age, he was so old that he had lost nearly all his teeth, he declared that he was not yet old, even never mentioned the word "old" in their hearing, and usually dressed himself in partycoloured embroidered garments, and like a child would playfully stand by the side of his parents.

One day he accidentally tripped and fell when he carried two buckets of water into the house, he saw the concerned looks on his parents’ faces, he started wailing and crying like a child, and wriggling on the wet floor and soaking his foolish looking wig, this ridiculous show sent the old folks into gales of laughter. From this incident he would often trip up on purpose, sending water showering over the floor, feigning to slip, falling to the ground, wailing and crying like a child, and all these things he did in order to divert his parents from their meloncholy feelings.

Whenever the venerable Lao Lâi-dze acted like a playful child, his mother was delighted, and manifested her joy in her countenance, thus did they forget her old age.

Lao Lâi-dze was a contemporary of Confucius, and the master of a Tâoistic school, the grand historian Sze-mâ says Lao Lâi-dze published a work in fifteen sections on the usefulness of Tâoism. He is one of the twenty-four examples of Filial Piety.
Chuang Tzu says Lao Lâi-dze once gave lectures to Confucius. One day a disciple of Lâo Lâi-dze, while he was out gathering firewood, met with Chung-nî. On his return, he told (his master), saying, 'There is a man there, the upper part of whose body is long and the lower part short. He is slightly hump-backed, and his ears are far back. When you look at him, he seems occupied with the cares of all within the four seas I do not know whose son he is.' Lâo Lâi-dze said, It is Ch’iû; call him here;' and when Chung-nî came, he said to him, 'Ch’iû, put away your personal conceit, and airs of wisdom, and show yourself to be indeed a superior man.' Chung-nî bowed and was retiring, when he abruptly changed his manner, and asked, 'Will the object I am pursuing be thereby advanced?' Lao Lâi-dze replied, 'You cannot bear the sufferings of this one age, and are stubbornly regardless of the evils of a myriad ages:--is it that you purposely make yourself thus unhappy? or is it that you have not the ability to comprehend the case? Your obstinate purpose to make men rejoice in a participation of your joy is your life-long shame, the procedure of a mediocre man. You would lead men by your fame; you would bind them to you by your secret art. Than be praising Yâo and condemning Chieh, you had better forget them both, and shut up your tendency to praise. If you reflect on it, it does nothing but injury; your action in it is entirely wrong. The sage is full of anxiety and indecision in undertaking anything, and so he is always successful. But what shall I say of your conduct? To the end it is all affectation.'


Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was