In Eastern China in the state of Lu, there was a high ranking officer named Meng Sun. One day, Meng Sun took his entourage into the mountains to go hunting, and his household staff Qin Xiba followed along too. During the hunting trip, Meng Sun caught a lovely fawn alive. He was very happy. Meng Sun ordered Qin Xiba to take the fawn home so he could keep it as a pet to play with in the future.
On his way home, Qin Xiba noticed that there was a big deer followed him, and it kept calling out. When the big deer called, the little faun would respond with a pitiful cry. Qin Xiba realized that they were mother and son, and he really could not bear it, so he put the fawn down. The mother deer ignored Qin Xiba standing there and rushed to the side of her fawn, licked its face, and together the two deer ran away into the forest and disappeared.
When Meng Sun returned home, he asked Qin Xiba for the small faun. Qin Xiba replied: “I couldn’t bear to listen to them crying for each other so I returned the fawn to the mother deer.” Meng Sun was very angry and sent Qin Xiba away.
After three months, Meng Sun started to search for a teacher for his son. Many family members come to Meng Sun to recommend teachers. One by one, Meng Sun disqualified them. He felt something was missing. Just when Meng Sun became depressed over the whole matter, he suddenly remembered that three months ago he let go of Qin Xiba. His heart suddenly opened up and straight away he asked people to look for Qin Xiba and made him his son’s teacher.
His driver did not understand Meng Sun’s thinking and asked: “Qin Xiba let your fawn go without your consent. Yet now you have asked him to be your son’s teacher, and I just don’t understand.”
Meng Sun smiled and said: “Qin Xiba has a kind heart. He even had compassion for a fawn, so he cannot possibly harm my son.”
The moral of the story is that rather than being clever and insincere, it’s better to be seen as foolish and sincere.
Translated by Yi Ming and edited by Helen