Stories from Ancient China: Xiang Xiong Stands Firm for What is Right

Xiang Xiong was born in Henei Jun in the Weijin dynasty of ancient China. Governor Wang Jing in Henei Jun promoted Xiang Xiong to the level of Zhubu. Later, the Sima family seized power from the Cao family and established the Jin dynasty. When Wang Jing was executed, Xiang Xiong cried heartrendingly at the execution ground, touching all those who were present. However when the new governor came to office he had him flogged and then imprisoned him. The Silixiaowei Zhong Hui rescued Xiang Xiong and appointed him as the Duguancongshi.

Later on Zhong Hui united the western Shu and planned to be independent. He failed, however and died in battle. No one dared to bury Zhong Hui. Only Xiang Xiong went to collect Zhong Hui's body despite the great distance. When emperor Wen found out about this he was very angry and had Xiang Xiong arrested. He asked Xiang Xiong: "When Wan Jing died, you were crying for him at the ground, but I ignored it. This time, even though Zhong Hui was a rebel, you went to collect his body and held his funeral. If I tolerate this, what will the people think of me?"

Xiang Xiong said: "When King Wen in the Zhong dynasty had the dead buried, his mercy extended to the dead. I have never heard that we have to judge the merits and demerits of dead people and then decide whether to bury them or not. Since they were already dead, the orders of your Majesty have been implemented. I buried them due to my moral sense. This shows the world that it is a principle that one has to repay generosity. Wouldn't such a principle make it easier to rule the country? Isn't it a good thing to do? Or would your Majesty like me to feel guilty about the dead and live mindlessly?" The emperor was pleased with what Zhong Hui said and so treated him with a banquet and then let him go.

There were many people like Xiang Xiong in the Chinese history, so there is a Chinese saying: when one receives a kindness even so little as a drop from others, he/she ought to repay it with a spring.

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