Zheng Jian, Contributor, Dora Li, Contributing Translator
Meng Zong was a boy with filial piety toward his mother. One winter day, Meng Zong’s mother was sick. She lost her appetite and did not feel like eating for several days. Upon seeing this, Meng Zong worried very much. He said to his mother, “Mom, whatever it is you want to eat, I will cook it for you.”
With a weak voice, his mother said, “I’d like to eat the bamboo shoots from the hills behind our house. They’re so fresh and delicious.”
Meng Zong was stunned because it was winter and there were no bamboo shoots at all. “What shall I do?” he wondered.
Meng Zong was out of ideas and went to the hill at the back of the house. He stood there and sighed. Thinking of how his mother was lying in bed, he held on to a bamboo tree and cried loudly. His filial piety moved Heaven and Earth. Not long after, the sun rose and the bright warm sunlight melted the snow. There was a sound of earth cracking, and several tender bamboo shoots were exposed in the crack. Meng Zong became very excited, immediately picked some, and ran home. He cooked a bowl of bamboo shoots and spoon-fed his mother. After eating the bamboo shoots, his mother miraculously recovered.
At the time, people thought that bamboo shoots grow only in the spring because they are visible above the soil and can be easily dug out. After Meng Zong’s story, people discovered that bamboo shoots can also be found in the winter, growing deep in the soil.