An Opportunity at Nobility… at the Cost of Loyalty

Image Source: Unsplash

In the Han Dynasty, Emperor Guangwu (汉光武) had a cabinet minister named Song Hong (宋弘). Song held the important position of Minister of Civil Engineering, and he was extremely honest and responsible in all matters.

When the Emperor’s elder sister became widowed after her husband died, the Emperor discussed with her sister about finding a new husband. He asked her if there was anyone among his cabinet ministers that she liked. His sister immediate replied, “Song Hong has a special air about him; extremely virtuous.”

The Emperor understood right away, and so he asked Song to meet with him. He thought that perhaps Song would be interested at the opportunity to go from a common citizen to nobility through marrying his sister. After all, it’s an opportunity that most people dream about.

When he met with Song, the Emperor told him, “When a man gets rich, it’s common for him to change friends. When a man gains high prestige, it’s common for him to change wives.”

Song knew about the situation with the Emperor’s sister and understood the Emperor’s implied meaning. He immediately replied the Emperor with two sentences: “To the friends who helped us when we were poor, we mustn’t forget. To the wife who accompanied us through hardship, we mustn’t abandon.”

After hearing this, the Emperor understood Song’s meaning and agreed that human sentiment and loyalty are most important. He also admired how artful and subtle Song responded in a way that did not make him embarrassed.

Although Song rejected the opportunity of nobility, he gained the respect and admiration of the Emperor and set a virtuous example for his family. His words recorded in history, and countless scholars looked up to his example for thousands of years to come.

Originally published at https://www.weeklywisdomblog.com on April 14, 2021.

--

--

--

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

6 Stories of Inventors Who Died Because of Their Own Findings

‘We Should Not Forget’ : The Royal Sussex Regiment Remembered in Priez, 100 Years On

How to properly tuck a shirt into trousers

Bringing the Navy’s History to Life Through Photographs

On Yom HaShoah, a gateway to remember and honor the lives lived

Archaeologists find 9,000-year-old shrine

Tsutomu Yamaguchi: The Only Man To Survive 2 Nuclear Attacks

The Hilarious Death of the Roman Emperor Valentinian the First

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alex Chen

Alex Chen

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

More from Medium

3 Mindset Shifts to Beat Job Application Procrastination

How Much Self-improvement Is Enough?

If you want to succeed, you must always think abundantly

Becoming 22