Zheng Jian, Contributor, Dora Li, Contributing TranslatorA long time ago, there was a man who lived in poverty but had very high morality and never did anything against others or against the law. Because he could not support himself on his own, he worked as a servant for a group of businessmen.
These businessmen brought the poor man with them when they went out to sea to find a lost sea treasure. They recovered the sea treasure and opened their sails to return home. But halfway home, without their knowing the reason, the ship stopped. No matter how hard they tried to paddle, the ship did not move an inch. The businessmen were terrified and speculated that by digging out the sea treasure they had offended the Sea God, who was punishing them. Thus, they frantically kneeled down to pray to the Sea God, repenting for their sins and asking that he return them home. That poor man did not join their praying since he had never done anything wrong in his life.
The ship’s stopping was indeed because of the Sea God. The Sea God wanted to punish the businessmen because they had desecrated him. He wanted the ship to sink to the bottom of the sea, but he saw there was a kindhearted man on the ship who should not be hurt. The Sea God thought about it for seven days and finally came up with a good idea. He thought, “Let me test these businessmen! If they pass the test, I will let them go; otherwise I will punish them and let the kind man go.”
The ship floated on the sea for seven days, not moving at all. All of the businessmen became very worried. On the seventh day, one businessman had a dream in which the Sea God told him, “If you sacrifice that poor man to me, I will let you go home.” After the businessman woke up, he told the dream to all the others. Then all the businessmen secretly discussed throwing the poor man into the sea. The poor man found out and told them, “That’s fine. Let me be a sacrifice to the Sea God! Don’t let it be me who ruins all of you.”
The businessmen were very happy to hear that the poor man wanted to be sacrificed to the Sea God, so they gave him a small raft. They also put some food and drink on the raft, and then they sent the poor man floating away. The businessmen with the treasure stayed on the big ship and happily sailed homeward.
The Sea God watched this and made a big wave such that the big ship immediately capsized, and all the businessmen sank to the bottom of the sea. Next, the Sea God blew a wind that pushed the small raft all the way to shore. Thus, the poor man safely returned home.
Photo courtesy of National Palace Museum Open Data.
I just love your stories. They tend to give a gentle reminder not to forget about the important
things in life, like caring, sharing and kindness to others. I have seen your show and it was the
most amazing performance I have ever seen. Thank you for your wonderful stories.
These kinds of stories should be read to the children. Or let the children read it themself. So they can learn about morality and be kind to others. I like the part that the man refused to pray with the businessmen because he did nothing wrong base on the story.
This is a very thought tale. It is a reminder to be kind and to give generously of yourself.
I attended your last performance in Detroit. A DVD of the next performance would be appreciated. When my grandchildren saw the angel fly up they asked, “What’s that?
In my opinion, this story validates that all lives are equally precious, and it’s up to ourselves to make the right decision. I wonder what the story will be if the businessmen said, let me be the sacrifice instead of them and return the treasure which it wasn’t theirs to begin with. Thank you for the story, I really appreciate them.
Thank you for this beautiful story.
Your stories always open the heart and broaden the mind.
I look forward to your performance to take the stage again.
I love the story, always into a story w/human fragilities, like Aesop. And I have seen your shows each time it came to SJ, love it.
I have seen two of your shows. They are without doubt the best shows I have ever seen. Unfortunately Australia is a big country and you don’t go to Brisbane very often. Brisbane is the only city within a days journey of us and I wish you would make a greater effort to bring your show to Brisbane. If this is not possible, I beg of you that you provide us with the opportunity to purchase a DVD of the show. To miss being able to view one of your presentations is to miss one of life’s greatest experiences.
I always love the morals of the stories you tell. I look forward to the time you get back to our neighborhood. I have seen your show four times and when you were in Portland, Oregon, I
sent tickets to my little Brother and he still talks about your show.
Thank you for brightening the lives of others.