Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to get rid of village bums

A certain rich man in a village lost a chicken.  Just a chicken out of his backyard coop full of chickens, but he went ballistic and had to blame someone for it.  So who should happen by but a village bum, a young man who had nothing better to do but spend his days hanging around the village shrine, fishing by the river or playing with the kids.  He argued and yelled and said he didn't even know there were chickens around the place! 

A crowd gathered round.

The rich guy was adamant he got the right man.  "Show us the proof then," said the villagers. 
The wealthy one couldn't get any proof, but he refused to let the young man go. 

Then the young man had an idea.  He suggested they go to the village shrine and ask the Tuapehkong.  He thought the Tuapehkong would favor him because he was always there taking care of the place.  The rich guy agreed on one condition.  If the young man was found guilty he will be banished from the village.  The bum said confidently, "OK, let's go find out the truth." 

Tuapehkong decided in favor of the rich guy and the poor bum was thrown out of the village. 

He had nowhere to go, so he hiked to the next county. 

The folks in the next county were fighting a war with several of their neighbors.  The young man was immediately drafted into the army.  They trained him.  To his own surprise he found he could do lots of things he never knew he could.  He learned fast and he fought well with different weapons.  He was always suggesting strategies to his captain and they kept winning battles against their neighboring county.  And they kept promoting him until he became a general.  Then they won the war. 

Years went by and the emperor heard about the young general of the county.  He summoned the young man and made him a general of the imperial army.  He won campaign after campaign, until the whole country was united under one emperor.  The wars ended and the emperor made him a governor of his own county.  It was good thing.  The guy had a desire to visit his home village again.

The first thing he saw upon entering the village gates was the little shrine and the Tuapehkong staring at him.  He stared back.  He ordered his men to tear the shrine down and throw everything into a vacant lot nearby. 

That night he had a dream.

"I want you to build a house for me right in the vacant lot where I am now." said Tuapehkong.

"Who are you to order me to do things?" asked the governor.  "You didn't stop them from throwing me out of the village years ago, remember?  They still think I stole that chicken."

"I did that on purpose.  If I'd told the truth you'd still be a village bum today.  But look at you now.  A word from you and things will be done." 

The governor bowed his head when he realized the truth of that.  When he woke up the next day he ordered the temple to be built.

The rich man who lost the chicken protested.  The vacant plot of land belonged to him.  The governor said, "I shall now pass a law that says all land not occupied or planted with food crops shall belong to the government."  Soon the rich landowners began to lease out their lands or hired laborers to plant crops instead of leaving them to grow weeds or became jungles.

And that was how the poor of the village finally got some land to plant their own food.

Moral of the story:  Some people have the potential to be great.  They just need a boot in the butt to get them going.


  1. Haha, that's a good one.

    I have a similar one but with a different ending. A filial son wanted to help his father walk after he was wheelchair bound for months due to an illness. However, the father had grown attached to his wheelchair and simply refused to be talked out of leaving it behind, despite the doctors declaring he is fit enough to walk. So one day, the son decided to hide the wheelchair when his father was asleep. He cooked up a story that someone had stolen it, hoping that the father would pick himself up and start walking again.

    However his father, now wheelchair-less, decided to remain on the bed instead and be carried around if need be. This went on for months, much to the distress of everyone, and the old man showed no sign of wanting to walk. Then one day, someone saw the wheelchair in his son's house and word traveled to his father. His father got so angry that he disowned the son, telling him never to step foot in the house again. The son tried to explain his motive but it was no use. The damage was done.

    A few months later, the old man died of natural causes.

    The filial son, hearing about the death, rushed back to the village but was pelted by his relatives for causing the death of his father and told he didn't belong among them any more. Dejected and full of regret, he packed up and disappeared to the city, never to return.

    What I learnt from the story: You can kick someone into action (be cruel to be kind?) but when you do that, always be prepared for the boot to go the other way.

  2. Haha. thanks for your story.
    I got mine from an old guy while hiking. I told him one from my dad, and he told me one of his own.
    I heard other stories too, but they're classified 18sxx so I can't write them here. heheh.

  3. Is there sunshine behind the clouds? Your story certainly confirms it! But remember, its true also the other way............
    Enjoy the song at this website, one of my favourite...........

  4. boy i hope they dont deplete the land too much.

    removing jungles for agricultural land is not good long term...

  5. ah... the story's about private land owned by the rich left vacant and unproductive while the poor crave for land to plant food crops... see? a moral lesson about greed and poverty and the problem solved by someone with power and a brain...