Shawn Congratulated Han on His Poverty

The National Languages of China (403 B.C.-221 B.C.)

    Shawn met Han, who worried because he was poor. He was surprised when Shawn congratulated him. Han said, "I have a position as an official, but I am not as rich as my colleagues. Therefore, I am worried and wonder why you congratulate me?"

    Shawn said, "In the past, Official Luan had only a small farm. He could not afford the items needed for worship on his salary. However, he followed the moral codes and was dedicated to virtue. His virtuous reputation spread throughout the countries in China. The kings of all the countries in China befriended him. Even the kings of foreign countries admired him. Thus, Official Luan made his country, Jinn, secure and peaceful. Luan enforced the law according to his conscience, so he was exempt from God's discipline. Luan's son, Hwan, was extravagant, insolent, and had an insatiable desire for sensual pleasure. He did whatever he wanted, disregarded the law, and built wealth through usury. He escaped punishment because people respected his father. Hwan's son, Hwai, did not follow his father's evil ways and was dedicated to Luan's virtue. Even though Hwai was blameless, he was exiled to Country Chuu because of Hwan's crimes.

    "As for the Shih family, its wealth was equal to half that of Country Jinn and its number of family servants equal to half of Jinn's army. Because of Shih's exceeding wealth, he was profligate and insolent. As a result, he was sentenced to death and his corpse was hung for public viewing. In addition, his family was killed in City J. Before this tragedy occurred, three members of the Shih family were earls, and five of them were viscounts. It could be said that the family was very powerful. Once they were killed, no one mourned them because they lacked virtue. Now, because you are as poor as Luan, I expect you will continue to seek to gain his virtue. This is the reason why I congratulate you. If you do not worry about your virtue and, instead, only worry about your financial status, it will give me reason to mourn you. Why should I congratulate you?"

    Han kneeled in front of Shawn and thanked him, “You saved me from self-destruction. I must thank you for your advice. All my ancestors should praise your great gift as well."