Tag Archives: moral story

Andy and the Ghost

The Story (Over Zoom):
This story is about a little boy named Andy. And Andy was not very cooperative with his mother. He lived alone with his mother, and his mother became ill. She asked Andy to go to the well and get her a cool drink of water. And it was getting night time and Andy says “Nah, I’m scared to go to the well, there’s a ghost that lives in the well”. And his mom says “No, there’s no ghost that lives in the well”. But he wouldn’t go get her a cold drink of water. So that night when they went to bed, he was juuuuust about to sleep, when he heard this sound saying: “AAAAAAANDY I’m on my first step… AAAAAAAAAANDY I’m on my second step… AAAAAAAANDY I’m on your porch… AAAAANDY I’m in your house… AAAAAANDY I’m by your bed… AAAAAANDY I GOT YOU”. *lunges forward as if to grab me*

Context (as given by the informant):
The first time I remember that being played on me was when some of my cousins were visiting and they were three or four years older than what I was, and we were sitting on the front steps of the house where I grew up, and that was one of my early encounters with a ghost story.
It was told as a way to scare younger children.

This story serves two purposes, both as a joke to play on someone unaware, as the ending is a jump scare usually coupled with someone grabbing the listener, but also as a warning. The story tells us that because Andy didn’t listen to his mother and refused to get her water, he was haunted by a ghost. So there’s an element there about respecting one’s elders in addition to the comedic purpose of the tale.

The Goose and The Pearl

The 22-year-old informant was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. at a very young age. She chose to share this story because it is commonly told in Korean culture.

“So in this one folktale, there’s this traveler, who needs a place to stay so he asks this farmer if he can stay in his house, and the farmer’s like, ‘No, but you can stay in the barn.’ So he’s sleeping there and he sees this little girl running, and she drops a pearl and he sees a duck eat it. And then in the morning, he’s shaken awake by the farmer who’s like, ‘I’m gonna call the police! You stole my daughter’s pearl, it’s missing!’ and he’s like, ‘No I didn’t, just wait until your duck poops.’ So then the duck poops and they find it.”

The moral of the story is to be nice to people. According to the storyteller, this story is a common one amongst Korean people.

I find this piece interesting because it talks about such a simple concept that is a sign of human decency, however, it doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, which is why this story is more relevant and eye-opening that one would think at first. People are always quick to point fingers or let others take the blame for things and it’s important to remember not to assume anything.

For another version of this story, see Kim, Jinrak. The Generous Scholar. Seoul: Baramedia Publishing Inc., 2007. Print.

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.

The Old Man Who Lost His Horse

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 there was an old man that lived on the border of China and Mongolia. He had one horse that was very, very handsome in terms of height, strong-ness, and had a luscious mane. Very handsome. One day, the horse ran away. The man wanted to have a horse so he could breed and raise more similar horses, but it ran away! So he was very, very sad. He complained a lot.

But his neighbor said, ‘Well you lost your horse, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! It may be a good thing.’ But the man was still sad about his horse because it was a good horse and he shouldn’t have lost it because it was so good, so strong. Also, a lot of people admired him because of that horse.

And after a couple of weeks, the horse came back! And it brought a group of horses back to his home. The man was very, very happy. The neighbor said, ‘See? You lost your horse–it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Right now you got more horses, right?’ So the man was very happy. And his son was very snobby, saying, ‘See? My dad is doing very well. We have so many great-looking horses!’

One day, his song was riding the horses because those horses run fast, but guess what? Unfortunately, his son fell from the horse’s back and broke his legs. The father said, ‘So bad! We have a good, but it’s bad that you broke your legs.’ So the neighbor told him again, ‘It doesn’t mean that this is a bad thing.’

So around the border, you know, China and other countries often go to war. They fight each other, right? Since crippled people can’t be drafted in the army, the son was not drafted. In the whole village, he was the only man of his age to not be drafted. He married and also had grandsons for the old man. The neighbor said, ‘See? That’s not a bad thing. Everyone went off to war, and they might not come back.’ So, at least his son stayed with him, so this is not a bad thing.

The moral of this story is, when something appears to be a bad situation–it’s not necessarily a bad situation. It might be good! Bad situations change to good situations, good situations change to bad situations.”

This story emphasizes the idea of things that are “blessings in disguise.” This story describes positive, concrete events that come out of bad situations, but we as an audience can glean that we can always find the good in bad or undesirable situations, or the “silver lining,” if you will. And this goes for almost any situation.

The Magic Gourd

The 24-year-old informant is originally from Rhode Island, but currently resides in New York, NY. Her parents are both from China, making her a first-generation American Born Chinese. This story was one that she heard as a child and has been engrained in her mind ever since.

“A long, long time ago, there was a boy who was fishing at the lake, and um, his classmates walk by and laughing at his fishing poles like, ‘Oh, so ugly, and so cheap!’

And they showed him, like ‘See, look at our fishing pole. We can fish biiiig fish! And so big and strong enough to pull them up.’

And on the other hand, his poor, very weak fish pole–even one fish can broken his pole. So, after the left and he was quietly sitting there, still fishing, fishing, fishing—and suddenly, he fished not a fish—it’s a gourd! He was very, very angry like, ‘I don’t want a gourd—I want a fish!’

However, the gourd, because it’s magic gourd, and talk about, ‘Please, ok save me! You can do whatever you want and I can satisfy you.’
And the boy’s not really wanting to bring the gourd back home, but he’s casually put him into the school bag. After he came back home, and he said, ‘Oh gosh, I have a lot of homework to do.’

The gourd, of course, tried to please him because, after all, he brought him back, and said ‘I can do whatever you want! I can satisfy you!’

The boy said, ‘Ok I have a lot of homework. Please do it for me.’

And pretty soon, ‘His homework was done in front of him.’

And also, he said ‘Oh I want to read certain books from our library but I forgot to bring them back home,’ and wow, suddenly, many, many books were full on his desk and another thing he said was, ‘Tomorrow, I want to eat a lot of good stuff like chicken, duck, and other things.’

Wow, a huge pile of money appeared on his desk. He was so satisfied he went out and bought all the food he wanted.

He went to school the next day and suddenly, there was a math test that he wasn’t prepared for. The gourd sensed that the boy needed help and helped him by copying a classmate’s test—but the test ended up having the classmate’s name on it too—and the girl’s test became blank. Of course, the boy was embarrassed and the teacher was not happy. So, the boy learned his lesson and did everything by himself from that point on to avoid embarrassment, and he learned humility and accountability.”

This story about a magic gourd is a very old story with Chinese origins, according to the informant. It represents Asian values of humility, honesty, and accountability– which Chinese people, especially, hold very highly.