http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=29884

An Honest Tea House Owner

An honest tea house owner. (Image:  David Leo Veksler  via   flickr  /  CC BY 2.0 )
An honest tea house owner. (Image: David Leo Veksler via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

There was once a small tea house in Beijing during the Song Dynasty whose business was very prosperous.

One day, a man named Li visited the tea house with one of his old friends, and because it was very hot, Li took off his overcoat and put a small bag of gold on the table. However, he forgot to take the items with him when he left the tea house. When Li realized he had forgotten his gold, he was very upset. He thought that it would be impossible to find it, as there were many people in the tea house on that day, so he didn’t bother to return to look for it.

When Li realized he had forgotten his gold, he was very upset. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

When Li realized he had forgotten his gold, he was very upset. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Several years later, Li visited the same tea house and casually mentioned to the owner that he had lost something when he last visited. The tea house owner thought for a moment and asked Li: “Did you sit in this seat with a sweater on that day?” Li said: “Yes.” Then the boss asked: “Was your friend in a fur coat?” Li again replied yes. The owner said:

Li replied: “If you have the gold, I would like to share half of it with you.” The owner smiled without answering.

The owner brought Li to a shed behind the tea house where he stored many personal items, such as umbrellas, shoes, and clothing. Each item had a small tag noting the date and time that the item was found, and a short description of the owner. If the owner of the tea house could not recall the owner, he simply wrote “unknown” on the tag. In the corner of the shed, the owner found a small bag with a date, time, and description that matched Li.

Several years later, Li visited the same tea house casually mentioned to the owner that he had lost something when he last visited. (Image: Michael Coghlan via flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Several years later, Li visited the same tea house and casually mentioned to the owner that he had lost something when he last visited. (Image: Michael Coghlan via flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The owner checked with Li about the amount of the gold in the bag. When Li answered correctly, he returned the small bag of gold to him.

Li was very grateful for what the owner had done, and started to count out half of the gold to share with him as he had promised, but the owner stopped him, saying:

Knowing the owner would not accept the gold, Li invited him to dinner, but the owner politely refused his offer with a smile.

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