Tale of a chinese sage

February 9th 2022
Once upon a time, in ancient China, there lived a sage whose wife kept tormenting him with her grievances: ‘What have you ever earned with your thoughts? We have barely enough to live on and my youth is being wasted on household worries. I want to have beautiful clothes and jewels and enjoy myself like other women of my age.’ The sage was so tired of her endless nagging that he finally said to her, ‘Well, if you can find a man with whom you think you can be happier, leave me. I will not hold you back.’ And eventually, she did just that. Then, one day, the old emperor died without an heir, and after searching throughout the land for a worthy successor, the ministers discovered the sage and chose him to be the new emperor. When his wife heard about it, she went to see him and said, ‘I understand now how foolish and shallow I was not to have appreciated all your qualities. But I was young. Forgive me. I want to be your wife again.’ Calmly, and without a word of reproach, the emperor turned to a servant and said, ‘Bring me a goblet of the most precious liquor.’ Then, taking the goblet, he poured the liquor out on the ground and said to his wife, ‘Gather up this liquor and if it is still as pure as before, I will take you back.’ And his wife wept because she knew that this was not possible.