Disaster Never Befalls a Kind Heart

A long time ago, there was a man who lived in poverty but had very high morality and never did anything against others or against the law. Because he could not support himself on his own, he worked as a servant for a group of businessmen.

These businessmen brought the poor man with them when they went out to sea to find a lost sea treasure. They recovered the sea treasure and opened their sails to return home. But halfway home, without their knowing the reason, the ship stopped. No matter how hard they tried to paddle, the ship did not move an inch. The businessmen were terrified and speculated that by digging out the sea treasure they had offended the Sea God, who was punishing them. Thus, they frantically kneeled down to pray to the Sea God, repenting for their sins and asking that he return them home. That poor man did not join their praying since he had never done anything wrong in his life.

The ship’s stopping was indeed because of the Sea God. The Sea God wanted to punish the businessmen because they had desecrated him. He wanted the ship to sink to the bottom of the sea, but he saw there was a kindhearted man on the ship who should not be hurt. The Sea God thought about it for seven days and finally came up with a good idea. He thought, “Let me test these businessmen! If they pass the test, I will let them go; otherwise I will punish them and let the kind man go.”

The ship floated on the sea for seven days, not moving at all. All of the businessmen became very worried. On the seventh day, one businessman had a dream in which the Sea God told him, “If you sacrifice that poor man to me, I will let you go home.” After the businessman woke up, he told the dream to all the others. Then all the businessmen secretly discussed throwing the poor man into the sea. The poor man found out and told them, “That’s fine. Let me be a sacrifice to the Sea God! Don’t let it be me who ruins all of you.”

The businessmen were very happy to hear that the poor man wanted to be sacrificed to the Sea God, so they gave him a small raft. They also put some food and drink on the raft, and then they sent the poor man floating away. The businessmen with the treasure stayed on the big ship and happily sailed homeward.

The Sea God watched this and made a big wave such that the big ship immediately capsized, and all the businessmen sank to the bottom of the sea. Next, the Sea God blew a wind that pushed the small raft all the way to shore. Thus, the poor man safely returned home.

Photo courtesy of National Palace Museum Open Data.