Father's Chipped Bowl


One evening, A-Shuen and his family sat together for dinner. He took a look at his father and said angrily, “Old man! Why do you keep dropping food all over the table? You have even chipped your bowl! Take care not to drop your bowl, for I won't buy you a new one!” His father's frail hands gripped the bowl even more carefully. After dinner, A-Shuen told his father, “Your straw mat is so stinky it can kill a fly! I don't intend to get you a new mat, so stop wetting your bed.” A-Shuen's father was deeply hurt by what A-Shuen said, but he endured it in silence.

His father's health soon deteriorated, and one day he woke up coughing so hard that he passed out on his straw mat. A-Shuen's son, Tianding, shook his grandpa and said, “Grandpa, what happened to you? Wake up! Aren't you going to play with me?” As Tianding couldn't wake him, he went to find his father.

When A-Shuen saw his dying father, He told Tianding, “Your grandpa is about to die. I will wrap him up in his straw mat and bury him in the fields.” Then, he picked up a shovel and started to dig a hole in the fields to bury his father. He dug fast and deep. After a while, Tianding brought his grandpa's chipped bowl to the field to find his father. He asked A-Shuen, “Father, what shall we do about grandpa's chipped bowl?” A-Shuen took a look at the chipped bowl and said, “This bowl is as useless as the straw mat. Let's bury it too!” Suddenly, Tianding opened his eyes wide and told his father, “Father, how could this bowl and mat be useless? When you grow old, I will also let you eat from this chipped bowl, and give you this mat to sleep upon, just like how you treat grandpa!”

A-Shuen cried with shame upon hearing what his son said. He ran back to his father and said, ”Father, forgive me! I never took good care of you! It is all my fault!” He quickly carried his unconscious father to the hospital to see a doctor. From then on, A-Shuen took very good care of his father, who lived to a ripe old age.