China Underground > Chinese Tales > A Self-Sacrificing Neighbor (Borrowing An Ox)

A Self-Sacrificing Neighbor (Borrowing An Ox)

A villager wrote a note to a wealthy man of the same village, asking for the loan of an ox.

When the note arrived, the man of wealth had a friend dining with him.

The rich man, although he possessed a great deal of worldly goods, had no education and, unwilling to show his ignorance by requesting his friend to read for him, he took up the note and made a pretense of reading it.

He said to the messenger:

“This affair is very easy to manage; you may go home first, in a little while I will follow.”

Note. — As the rich man’s friend asked for the loan of an ox, the illiterate wealthy goes himself; he is therefore taken for an ox.

Translation: Y. T. Woo. , 1909, from ‘Chinese merry tales’ by Woo, Y. T, 1909 (The American Presbyterian Mission Press)

Featured image: Zhang Lu, Laozi Riding an Ox 畫老子騎牛. Light ink and color on paper. National Palace Museum

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