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The Twenty-four Paragons of Filtal Piety 9

Number Nine
Stealing Oranges To Take Home For His Mother: Lu Ji

 

In the Later Han Period, a young boy of only six years old showed a deep filial regard for his mother. He traveled with his father to visit the Chief Minister of Nan Yang, named Yuan Shu. Elder Yuan Shu saw how precocious the young boy was, and ordered his butler to bring a dish of oranges to offer to young Lu Ji. The boy saw the delicious, large fruit, and immediately ate two . He waited until nobody was looking, and secreted three oranges away in the sleeve of his robe. When it was time to say good-bye, along with his father, little Lu Ji raised his hands up in salute. Unexpectedly, the three oranges came rolling out, and fell to the floor in front of Lu Ji.

Yuan Shu saw the oranges and laughed: "Little Brother, you"re my guest today. How come you stole your host"s oranges?" The little boy replied, "Pardon me, my mother likes oranges best of all. Because we don"t have any money, it"s hard to provide oranges for her. Today I enjoyed two of these ripe, sweet, oranges, and I could not resist taking a few of them back for Mother. She likes them so much."

Minister Yuan Shu was impressed by the six-year-old"s concern for his mother"s happiness. He told his staff to give the entire plate of fruit to Lu Ji for his family.

A verse in his honor says:

Filial love and brotherhood made nature "Heaven-True",
Most rare in a boy just six years old.
He hid three oranges in his sleeve, as a gift for his Mom,
Just a token to repay her kindness without end.

 
   
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