An Elixir for Long Life

This story was in Chu State in the Warring-States Period. At that time, Chu State was the largest one of Huaxia States, and her territory included the most regions of the south of China.

One day, a man went to the palace of the king of Chu State, and wanted to meet the king and present an elixir of life to him. A guard of the palace asked the man, “Can I check your elixir?” The man said, “Of course you can. Please.” He handed the elixir to the guard. The guard watched the small pellet carefully, and asked, “Can this pellet be eaten?” The man said, “Yes, of course.” The guard said excitedly, “OK.” Then he actually swallowed the pellet at once. The man was very angry, and shouted. The quarrel disturbed the king. When the king knew what happened, he became wroth. He ordered to kill the guard.

The guard wasn't panic, and he said to the king, “My King, I asked the man whether the elixir could be eaten, and he answered me that it could be eaten, and then I ate it. So the fault can not be imputed to me but him. The man said his pellet was an elixir for long life, but if you kill me, it shows that the elixir is a pellet which can cause death in fact. You want to punish an innocent person, but you actually tolerate the man who cheats you.” The king smiled, and said, “I am not willing to kill a person for a small pellet.” Then he released the guard.

Oriental Style
Since February 6th, 2006
Copyright © Yike Jiang