The Story Of The Chinese Great General Who Crawled Between A Thug's Legs

There are many meaningful stories in ancient Chinese culture. Today we will talk about the story of the famous general Han Xin who had an outstanding moral character.

According to the teachings of Confucius, a person should not only repay those who have lent a helping hand but should do so generously.

"Reward generosity, forget resentment. Get rid of grudges quickly, respond to kindness with kindness and freely", it is said in the Chinese classic "Rules for Students", based on the ancient teachings of Confucius.

Teachings about gratitude have frequently been passed down in Chinese history, the story of general Han Xin being one of them.

The Chinese General Learned Precious Lesson In His Youth

More than 2000 years ago, there was a great general by his name Han Xin, who played an important role in the development of the Han dynasty. In his youth, Han Xin was deposed and suffered many hardships, but these only served to perfect and elevate his noble character.

Once, Han Xin, being very hungry, was on the bank of a river trying to fish. Several women nearby were washing clothes in the river water and most of them ignored the poor young man. However, one of them took pity on Han Xin and offered him some food to satisfy his hunger.

 Chinese Great General Confucius Han Xin

After eating, Han Xin said, "Madam, I will repay you in full."

The woman replied: "Young man, you can't even feed yourself. I fed you out of pity, don't think of repaying me."

Building Up Character 

Han Xin practiced martial arts and always carried a sword on his hip. One day, while walking down the street, Han Xin met a thug blocking his way.

Looking for trouble, the bully asked Han Xin to crawl between his legs so he could move on, and if not - to make his way with his sword. In those days, crawling between someone's legs was an act of incredible humiliation, especially for a warrior. And, of course, killing a person was also a crime that could ruin a person's future.

It would have taken extremely little and would have been easy for Han Xin to cut off his head, but he decided otherwise. As the thug scoffed, he submitted to the humiliation of crawling between the fellow's legs, then went on his way.

 Story Of The Chinese Great General Who Crawled Between A Thug's Legs

Han Xin manage to endure nobly the humiliation and this experience strengthened his character.

Years passed and general Han Xin became more and more appreciated, defeating the enemies of the people and making it possible to consolidate the glorious Han dynasty.

The General Didn't Forget The Thug And The Woman Who Fed Him

True to his promise, when general Han Xin met the woman who had fed him out of pity in the past, and who was now quite old, he gave her  1,000 taels of gold, which the woman accepted only at his insistence.

General Han Xin knew that both the humiliation he had suffered at the hands of the bully and the woman's kindness had both helped shape his character.

So general Han Xin sought out the thug on the streets and gave him a modest reward. So instead of taking revenge, he appointed him as a zhongwei - the equivalent of a present-day lieutenant, according to Wikipedia.

The latter, seeing the general's magnanimity and generosity, was deeply ashamed. Seeing that the poor man he had humiliated in the past was now a powerful figure in the state, the man knelt before general Han Xin and begged forgiveness.

"This man is a hero. Do you think I could not have killed him when he humiliated me? I would not become famous even if I killed him then. Hence, I endured the humiliation to preserve my life to achieve great things in the future", explained Han Xin.

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