There was a wealthy man who had a big family and had many assets. He always lent money to help people transition through difficult times. Many people owed debts to him.
One day, the rich man asked all his debtors to his home. He told them: “If you don’t have anything to pay back, you can swear to me how you will pay me back in your next life. I will burn your borrower’s records and will not collect the debt.”
A debtor who owed little money said: “I’d become a horse in my next life. You could ride on me for me to pay you back.” The rich man nodded and burned his records.
A debtor who owed some money said: “I would be a cow in my next life to work for you and to plow the land to pay back the debt.” The rich man nodded and burned his records.
Finally, a debtor who owed a lot of money said: “I want to become your father to pay my debt.”
The rich man was furious and said: “You have owed me a lot of money, and you still want to take advantage of me, is this right?”
The big debtor said: “Allow me to tell you the truth. I have owed you too much debt and I can’t pay you back by being a horse or a cow. I would rather be your father. I would work very hard, regardless of my own wellbeing, and save up lots of properties. I would not enjoy them myself and would give them all to you to enjoy. Won’t this pay you back?”
About Good Laughs
Good Laughs (笑得好) is a collection of short stories edited by Chinese doctor Cheng-Jin Shi (石成金) of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). This collection can be considered as the Chinese version of Aesop’s Fables. Dr. Shi was believed to have lived between the Kangxi and early Qianlong reigns. He also authored many other books on remedies for life and health.
Good Laughs is meant to nourish the heart with stories. In the preface, Dr. Shi wrote: “People are entertained by being sarcastic; I inspire people with sarcasm. It entertains the heart, but it can also save a life like acupuncture.”