Everybody hates crows. These birds like to eat rotten meats. But do you know that a crow is a very filial animal? It would bring its mother food without fail and make sure she ate before it does. The crow is so filial that one of them actually brought a young man to shame and ironically, this young man is now welcome in every Chinese household!
Once upon a time in ancient China lived a young man and his mother. They were poor and every day, this young man would toil his field… from morning till evening. His mother loved him every much and every afternoon, she would cook lunch and bring it to him. He would eat the food under a tree while she would stand at a distance to wait for him to finish the food. But this young man had a very bad temper. He would flare up at any petty issue and used his poor mother as a punching bag. He would scold or swear at her and many a times, even beat her up blue black. As a result, the poor mother was very fearful of her abusive son and secretly hoped that he would change his temperament but alas, his abusive ways were die-casted.
One day while sitting under a tree waiting for his lunch, he saw a crow bringing home some worms for its mother who was resting inside a nest just above him. He was very impressed by this sight and a question came to his head – if a crow can be so kind to its mother, how come I, a human, am so cruel to my own mother? A sense of remorse washed over him and he quickly got up with the intention of going home to apologize to his mother. But as fate would have it, at that very moment, his mother was on the way with his lunch and on seeing her son leaping up from where he was sitting, she fled, thinking that he was angry with her for being late and was about to hit her again. The old woman collapsed onto the ground and died on the spot due to excessive bleeding. The young man was heart-broken to see his lifeless mother and he wailed and wailed until blood oozed from both his eyes. He wanted to treat her better, but it was too late and he had even caused her death.
The benevolent Jade Emperor looked down from his throne and pitied the poor mother and her grieving son. Finally, the heavenly king decided to bestow the title ‘God of Wealth’ to the young man and made him promised to bring wealth and happiness to everyone as a way to atone for his misdeed of ill-treating his mother.
If you go to any major Taoist temple, you will most probably come across the statue of a young man dressed in mourning clothes with blood oozing from his eyes standing at a corner under a banner that reads ‘Choy Sun, the God of Wealth.’ That’s him, the abusive son who had realized his folly only to find it too late.
This story was told to me by my late father and I am sharing it now to commemorate the timeless value of filial piety which is the theme of this current Ching Ming Festival.