Stories from Ancient China: Xingling, Thought to be a Fool, Was Actually Quite in Tune

In the Jin Dynasty (AD 265- AD 420), there was a person named Xingling who lived in Jianchang County of Jiangxi Province (currently around Nanchang, Changxi, Nanfeng, Lichuan, and the Guangchuan areas in Jiangxi Province, China). Xingling did not talk much and was always bullied by others, but he never became angry. Everyone in the village called him a fool. His father and brother also thought that he was foolish and sent him to the field to watch over the grain fields.

Once a cow came to eat the grain. Although Xingling saw it, he didn't drive it away. After the cow left, he went to the field to straighten the stalks of grain the cow had stepped on. His father angrily scolded him but Xingling said, “All creatures grow between heaven and earth, and we should let them all find their satisfaction. The cow was eating. How could I drive it away?” His father became even angrier and asked, “Then why did you straighten up the damaged stalks of grain?” Xingling answered, “Because those stalks were not dead.”

At that time, the Jianchang County magistrate, Fan Changbin, ordered the people to build a government ship and requested that everyone build an oar. Xingling built an oar but it was stolen. The thief suddenly had a severe pain in his heart. Xingling asked him, “Did you steal my oar?” The thief did not answer him. After a while, the pain in his heart became even worse. Xingling told him, “If you don't tell the truth, you might die.” The thief nodded, admitting the he had taken the oar. Xingling brought him a bowl of water. His illness disappeared after he drank the water.

After the big ship was built, dozens of people pushed on it, but it didn't move. Xingling gave it a push and the ship simply slided into the water. People started to respect Xingling and said, “This fool really has some magic.”

Mr. Gong Zhongru's daughter had been sick for years and was very weak. Xingling sprayed water on her and she recovered.

A woman named Huangshi had hemiplegia for over 10 years. Xingling sat in front of her, closed his eyes, and entered into tranquillity. After a while, he asked Huangshi to stand up. She could then walk by herself.

Ghosts haunted Gao Li's home, the utensils and furniture moved by themselves. Gao had invited a sorcerer to drive the ghosts away but they still came back. When Xingling passed by Gao's home and saw many talismans on the door, he said, “Controlling the evil in an evil way won't work .” He asked Gao to tear down all the talismans and the ghosts disappeared.

After that, many people from other areas went to see Xingling. He helped many people but refused to accept any rewards. His personality was mild and kind. When he met people, he always bowed first and introduced himself to show respect to others. He was still quiet and had a silly appearance, but people no longer called him a fool. Whenever he saw any plants or trees that were damaged, he would always straighten them; whenever he ran into anything that had fallen down, he would always put it back up.

China is a great nation with a history of many outstanding people. Among them there are people like Xingling, who may look like fools, but are simple, kind, and quite ingenuous, and are not afraid of others taking advantage of them.

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