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A Story from History: Jiang Balang Paid His Debt
Yi Dou, PureInsight.org
In the Song Dynasty (960-1279A.D), there was a wealthy man named Jiang Balang (the eighth son) in Pingjiang. Later on, the Jiang family went into decline and crowds of creditors would wait outside his house everyday. Balang had no choice but to divorce his wife. He told her, "Please go back to your parents. I will seek shelter from an old friend in Xinzhou and hope to turn things around a little. If I'm lucky, I will come back for you." Before he set off, he swore to the heavens: "I have to leave now because I have owed too much debt. If things get better for me and I come back in the future, I will pay double all my debts."
Along the main road to Xinzhou, there was an inn run by an old woman. One day, she had a dream. In her dream, she saw a big herd of sheep. When someone was trying to take the sheep away, a voice scolded, "These sheep belong to Jiang Balang. They are not to be taken!" The next day, Jiang Balang stopped by asking for directions. The old woman asked for his name, and he said, "My family name is Jiang." "What's your birth order among siblings?" "Eighth." The old woman was very surprised and invited him to stay for some time. A few days later, she told Balang, "I had a son who died at a young age. My daughter-in-law doesn't want to remarry because she wants to take care of me. I have been trying to look for a decent man for her but I haven't found one yet. From your appearance, I can see you are not hopelessly miserable. May I have my daughter-in-law married to you?" Balang refused, "I have a wife already." But the old woman asked him again and again. Since his future was so hopeless, Balang finally accepted it.
One day, when Balang's wife was picking vegetables in the garden, she saw a white rabbit. She tried to catch it, but it quickly ran away. When she gave up and turned around, the white rabbit would stop running. She tried to catch it again, and it would run again, but as soon as she stopped, the rabbit would stop. This was repeated several times and she ended up in a cave in the mountain. She didn't find the rabbit but a shinning stone instead. She took it home and showed it to Balang. Balang recognized it, "It's a silver stone." After processing, it indeed turned into a piece of silver. With some money in hand, Balang hit the road to his old friend in Xinzhou again. But he didn't find him. He came back and pondered," I heard Xinzhou had many silver mines. Could that cave in the mountain a silver mine?" So he went there with his wife. It was indeed a silver mine and Balong became rich again from mining. Then he returned Pingjiang with his wife and the old woman. He followed exactly what he had promised by getting his first wife back and paying all his creditors double what he had owed them.
Jiang Balong could keep his promises and his wife had good deeds. The heaven always rewards good-hearted people.
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