In the fifth century B.C., Ch’ung-erh, the prince of Ch’in (in present-day China), had been forced into exile. He lived in modesty even, sometimes, in poverty waiting for the time when he could return home and resume his princely life.

Once he was passing through the state of Cheng, where the ruler, not knowing who he was, treated him rudely. The ruler’s minister, Shu Chan, saw this and said, “This man is a worthy prince. May Your Highness treat him with great courtesy and thereby place him under an obligation!”

But the ruler, able to see only the prince’s lowly station, ignored this advice and insulted the prince again. Shu Chan again warned his master, saying, “If Your Highness cannot treat Ch’ung-erh with courtesy, you will face calamity in the future.” The ruler only scoffed.

Years later, the prince was finally able to return home, his circumstances greatly changed. He did not forget who had been kind to him, and who had been insolent, during his years of poverty. Least of all did he forget his treatment at the handsof the ruler of Cheng.

At his first opportunity he assembled a vast army and marched on Cheng, taking eight cities, destroying the kingdom, and sending the ruler into an exile of his own.

Abdul Malik Omar
The AMO Times
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