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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chinese Fables: Kong Rong Giving Up Pears

13 March 2011
23 April 2011
In the park near my apartment complex, there are several statue vignettes depicting well-known Chinese fables. This one shows Kong Rong, the Han Dynasty scholar, politician & warlord, who is famous for his act of filial piety as a young boy.

According to the plaque next to this sculpture, when Kong Rong was four years old, he was given the opportunity to choose a pear from several. Instead of taking the largest pear, he took the smallest pear, saying that the larger pears should be eaten by his older brothers.

The story is used today to teach children to respect their elders. While searching for more information on the story, I came across this blog post written by a woman who discussed Kong Rong with her five-year-old son who was learning about him in school.

At first, he didn't understand why he needed to give the larger pear to his older brother, but finally conceded that since Kong Rong did it, he should do it too. But when his mother tried to apply the principle to chocolate cookies, the five-year-old refused to see the connection. Kong Rong gave his brothers pears, not chocolate cookies!

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