There once was a man named Zhen Bin, who lived during the Qi Dynasty. Although he came from a poor family, he was a kind-hearted and well-behaved man.
One time when his family was short of money, he took a bundle of ramie to a pawnshop. He pawned the ramie until his family could afford to buy it back.
Later, when Zhen Bin was able to buy the ramie back, he unexpectedly found a cloth roll inside. He opened the roll and saw a shining piece of gold weighing more than five taels. If he kept the gold for himself, no one would know about it. But he was a kind and honest person. He took the cloth roll back to the pawnshop without hesitation.
When he arrived at the pawnshop, he saw the shop owner interrogating his clerk. The owner blamed the clerk for losing the gold. If he could not find the gold, he must pay compensation for it. The clerk felt wronged and trembled as he cried constantly. Zhen Bin quickly took out the gold and handed it to the pawnbroker. Seeing the gold had been returned, the owner’s anger turned into happiness. The clerk stopped crying and said through his tears:
“Thank you, my great benefactor! If you hadn’t come back, I could never have afforded this with all my fortune.”
The clerk knelt down, but Zhen Bin rushed to pull him up and kindly comforted him. The pawnbroker brought some silver to Zhen Bin in thanks, but Zhen Bin refused to accept it.
Zhen Bin did many good things, and stories of his good deeds spread far and wide. Eventually, even the emperor heard the stories about him. Xiao Daocheng, emperor of the Qi Dynasty, appreciated Zhen Bin’s character. In order to highlight his high morality, Xiao issued a special imperial edict offering Sichuan’s Pi County to Zhen Bin. The emperor said to Zhen Bin:
“You have virtue from returning lost money in the past. I believe you will become a good officer.”
Later, Zhen Bin indeed did many good things and brought more benefits to the people. His excellent deeds were praised widely.
Zhen Bin was from a poor family. It’s commendable that poverty did not change his morality. His kind virtue brought him unexpected blessings, making him a county leader and changing his destiny.
Translated by Kitty Zhang.