New Year's Present

Happy Chinese New Year!

The lunar new year (Year of the Dog) begins on Friday, February 16th.

This is part of a collection of inspiring Chinese fables and stories from Dr. Yang's past.

A family, an old father and three daughters, sat down for their New Year’s supper. The father drank a goblet of wine and looking at his daughters, he said, “As is customary, I am going to give you presents. They are not very precious, but each of you will have the possibility to show how worthy you are.”

Saying this, he gave them three very small packages. When the girls unpacked them, each found three copper coins. The daughters thanked him for the presents. The father bid them good night and went to sleep.

When they were alone the oldest daughter said, “Being old, our father has become avaricious. He could have at least coddled his daughters by offering them silver coins on New Year’s Eve.”

“What can we do with three copper coins?” said the middle daughter, shrugging her shoulders.

The youngest said, “Each of father’s presents are valuable and the wisdom hidden in his words is of greater worth than the presents themselves. One only has to understand it.”

The following year, New Year’s Eve approached. This time, the father offered his daughters multicolored silk embroidered girdles. He did not mention the previous year’s presents as if he had forgotten about them.

The next year, at the third New Year’s Eve, the father asked, “Dear daughters, what did you do with those copper coins I gave you three years ago?”

The oldest daughter laughed and said, “Ah, father, there is no sense in mentioning those three sweets I bought with those three coins.”

The middle daughter got angry, “Why talk about them, during the three years I forgot about those coins several times. I put them somewhere and I cannot find them now.”

The youngest said: “Thank you, father. I bought a heifer.”

“How could you buy a heifer with three copper coins?”

The daughter answered, “First, I bought a small yellow duckling which became a beautiful duck. The duck laid eggs that I sold during the year. With the money, I bought a piglet that I fed and when he became big and fat, I sold him. I got enough money to buy a calf. The calf has grown up and become a heifer. In the near future, I am going to have a cow bought for three coins.”

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