High Achiever’s Story

The 54-year-old informant is a elementary school Chinese teacher and is originally from Taiyuan, China. She’s been hearing and telling Chinese folklore her entire life, and often shares it with her students. Her stories represent Chinese culture and the qualities that Chinese people value.

“Once upon a time, there was a young man who… uhm, passed a national test, and.. and his future will be very, very bright. So, suddenly, one lady knocked the door, and he opened the door, and that lady asked him, “Say, do you remember me?”

And uh, this young man said, “Oh yes! I remember you! And I remembered you rescued me and cured my illness.”

And the lady said, “Yes, that was me.”

She said, “Did you remember when you passed by our hometown on the way to the capital city that held the test, you were very, very sick. And one of the herb medical doctors said ‘We need one very special prescription that is probably somewhere, so then your illness can be cured.”

At this time, a lady– a young lady who’s sitting nearby and heard about it said ‘Wow it happens to be my family has one secret prescription. It might be cure your illness.’

So she found their family secret prescription and went to mountaintop and found every element on that prescription, and eventually, this young man was cured. After he was cured, he found he doesn’t want to go to capital city to take the test. He thought he recovered and stay here very comfortably. However, this young lady encouraged him and said, ‘Your future is set on the test. If you pass it, your future will be very, very bright. Why did you give up? You don’t need to give up.’

That man said, ‘Oh yes, probably you’re right.’ So he went to the test and he passed it. And I think he got the number one score. So that’s why he said to the young lady, ‘Thank you very much for rescuing me and curing my illness.’

However, on second thought, he looked at the young lady twice and thought, Wow this lady has very ordinary clothes–nothing special. I would find better girls with finer clothes to be my future wife instead of this lady.

So that’s why he turned around and said ‘Well, I don’t think you fit with my future lifestyle, so I would rather stop this kind of relationship.’

Then the girl was very sad and she left.

It was not long that this young man became ill. Same kind of illness caused by the same type of disease. He asked someone to look for this girl, but this girl was never found. So the man was not cured.

From this story, you can tell that anytime people help you– you should be thankful and not turn around and not recognize their kindness. There are a lot, a lot of similar stories like this in China, just to warn people to be thankful to people who provide convenience or help you. You should remember them and be thankful.”


This story has strong Chinese themes including, gratefulness and humbleness. These ideas are extremely important to Chinese culture and growing up, I was definitely taught the importance of these concepts.