Leaving the money


Before the war, my informant’s great grandfather worked at a bank in China. In World War II, during the panic, he escaped with a lot of money from the bank, intending to use it when he reached safety. But when he reached the Chinese border, he said “This is not my money” and after dropping the sacks, he crossed.


This is a family legend that my informant told me and she believed for a long time. Her mother used to tell it to her and used it as both a moral lesson and as a source of family pride. Her mom heard this from her aunt, the informant’s grand-aunt. But her other grand-aunt disputes this story and claims it was made up, although she says he did still work in the bank. The discrepancy in the family legend shows how even within one generation the story can be morphed and retold from a basic fact. Furthermore, the legend displays their family pride and puts their lineage on a higher moral pedestal.