A Coachman’s Story

During the Warring States Period, Lord Zhao Xiang learned how to race a horse-drawn carriage from Wang Liang. (Image: John Hill  via  wikimedia  CC BY-SA 3.0)
During the Warring States Period, Lord Zhao Xiang learned how to race a horse-drawn carriage from Wang Liang. (Image: John Hill via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Yan Zi was the prime minister of the state of Qi. One day, he was riding in a carriage when his carriage happened to pass by the coachman’s house. The coachman’s wife knew about this and opened the door a bit to peek at the carriage. She wanted to witness the dignity of the kingdom. Unfortunately, what she saw was her husband sitting on the carriage triumphantly waving a whip and completely ignoring the pedestrians as if he were the prime minister.

Yan Zi was the prime minister of the state of Qi. (Image: Philg88 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Yan Zi was the prime minister of the state of Qi. (Image: Philg88 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

That evening, when the coachman got to his house, his wife told him she wanted to divorce him. This was really quite a shock as the coachman did not know happened. He was dumbstruck, so he asked his wife for the reason. His wife spoke angrily:

After being belittled by his wife, the coachman realised his own shallowness and ignorance. He was so ashamed that he began to change himself completely. He changed his attitude toward life and studied hard; his behavior finally won the understanding of his wife.

Departure Herald, from the Chinese Xuande period. (Image: Wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Departure Herald, from the Chinese Xuande period. (Image: Wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Eventually, Yan Zi also saw the changes in the coachman and wanted to find out what happened. Yan Zi asked the coachman and he told him the whole story. Yan Zi was very moved. He admired the coachman’s courage and spirit, and his wife’s extraordinary vision. Later, Yan Zi recommended the coachman to the king of Qi. The coachman then became an appointed official.

The coachman’s story tells us that only ignorant people who lack ambition would be so arrogant. Only those who can courageously face their shortcomings and make changes will amount to something.

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