Tag Archives: scholar

Kong Rong Rang Li and the Pears


H is a parental figure of mine who grew up in China and is currently living in California. 

This conversation took place over a weekly phone call with my parents after I asked them about stories that they knew from China. 


H: Kong Rong Rang Li is also this little boy… he was 4 years old I think. His father was very fond of him so one day he brought home some delicious pears-

Me: Wait is he a real person?

H: Yeah, he was real- in the Han Dynasty. I sent it to you because the name can be really hard to spell. But after his father brought home the pears, he gave Kong Rong, who was four, the biggest pear. But Kong Rong had a lot of brothers. He had five elder brothers and one younger brother. Kong Rong… decided to give the biggest pear to his youngest brother and his father was very surprised and asked him how come you- and Kong Rong, instead, picked the smallest himself. Kong Rong said I’m younger than my older brothers so they should have bigger pears than me and his father than said how about your younger brother. Oh he didn’t give his younger brother the biggest pear, he just put the biggest pear down I think and picked up the youngest – the smallest pear. The father then asked how about the younger brother? He should have the smallest pear right because he’s the youngest. But Kong Rong said no because I’m older than him so I should take care of him by giving him the bigger one. So after he said that, his father was very happy and his brothers all felt that they should do something so they all tried to pick the smallest pear.

Me: (laughs)

H: (laughs) So they, you know, all learned how to, try to save the best one for others. 


This legend is another story that is meant to teach children to act a certain way. It is another origin story of a famous scholar in Ancient China who teaches kids to put others ahead of them and be selfless. I thought that this story was endearing because it ended with none of the kids wanting to eat the largest pear in order to be selfless like their brother. I think his logic was also very smart but also childish in the sense that his answer to his father changes to the opposite in order to answer for both his younger and older brothers. It also seems to tie into the tradition of gifting fruits in Chinese culture rather than other physical presents, especially bringing fruits home from a journey.

Roman High Five

For this joke, you make a peace sign with your fingers (V) and high-five someone with your fingers in said position while saying: “Roman five!”
The joke here is an erudite one since you have to have an understanding of Roman numerals to know that the roman five was written as ‘V’.  This joke was told to me by my mother who heard it from a friend in the O.C.