Heaven Knows Best


There were two brothers named Chang-Liang and Chang-Ming. They looked after their old mother together. One day, as younger brother Chang-Ming prepared to set off for the gambling den again, his brother tried to stop him by saying, “You have almost finished squandering our father's fortune! Don't forget that we need the money to take care of our mother!” Chang-Ming retorted, “You're the older brother. Taking care of mother is your responsibility, not mine.” Having said that, Chang-Ming left the house.

A few days later, landlord Liu celebrated his 60th birthday. He invited older brother Chang-Liang to the birthday party, and thanked Chang-Liang for helping to fix his roof. During dinner, the landlord saw Chang-Liang putting aside a chicken thigh, so, he asked, “Chang-Liang, don't you like to eat chicken thighs?” The Chang-Liang quickly replied, “I like chicken thighs, but my mother hasn't tasted meat in a very long time, and I would like to save this for her.” The landlord was pleased at Chang-Liang's reply and said, “You are such a filial son. Eat your chicken thigh, for I will ask my servants to pack one for your mother.”

Chang-Liang thanked the landlord and went home with the chicken thigh. But as he entered the house, he tripped over the threshold, and the chicken thigh fell onto the floor and got covered in dirt. His mother heard the noise and came to see what happened. Chang-Liang quickly told his mother how he had gotten the chicken thigh. His mother told him, “It's okay, my son. I can still have the chicken thigh after washing away the dirt.” Chang-Liang felt so guilty for dirtying the chicken thigh that was meant for his mother, so, he ran to an old tree and cried, “How could I let mother eat something that had dropped onto the floor? I am so unfilial! I should be struck down with lightning as punishment!” Suddenly, a lightning bolt came out of nowhere and struck down the old tree beside him. Chang-Liang saw a huge pot of gold hidden in its trunk, and thought to himself, “God must have sent me this gold to take care of mother. Thank you so much!”

After hearing how his older brother got the gold, Chang-Ming wanted a pot of gold too. So, he threw a chicken thigh onto the floor and gave it to his mother to eat. Then, he ran to a tree and pretended to cry, “Oh God, I deserve to die for dropping mother's chicken thigh onto the floor. Please strike me down with lightning, for I don't wish to live anymore.” Sure enough, there was a rumbling sound and a bolt of lightning struck Chang-Ming. God had granted his wish.