Childhood
Narrative
Old age

Boy Who Warmed His Parents’ Bed

There’s one I remember with… uh… this kid used to… in the wintertime, he used to warm up his parents’ bed by… you know, right before bedtime, he’d crawl in it and just sleep there or just lie there for, like… for a little while until it gets warm, so that when his parents go to bed, then the bed will be warm enough for them, you know?

 

Background:

You know, respecting the elders is a very big thing in China, so… so that’s one I remember hearing about a lot. Uh… my parents used to tell it to us a lot, and my older siblings also…. uh, told it, to… to… keep us entertained, I guess, since, you know, there were seven of us kids and not… not a lot of, um, space. And, and also, you know, to teach us to respect our parents and our elders, because, you know, I… we grew up in a very traditional… Chinese… Hong Kong family, so, so that was a very important value to my parents.

 

Thoughts:

It is a very important value in China (and in Confucianism) to respect one’s elders, so it makes sense that the story of a child making the effort to make his parents’ beds more comfortable would be a popular one in China, and that my informant’s parents and older siblings would often tell it to her and her siblings. It is meant to teach children to follow the example of this boy and try to help their parents and elders feel more comfortable in their old age.

 

Annotations:

For the full version of this story, see #19 in:

“The Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Respect: Their Stories & Verses In Praise.” The Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Respect, Kenyon College, www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Reln270/24-filial2.htm.

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