Tuesday, January 1, 2008

One Word for Happiness

A Chinese Folktale

Chang Kung was the head of a very large household. Within his compound lived his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Plus a varied assortment of aunts, uncle and cousins.

What made Chang Kung household stand out was that the entire family lived together without quarrelling or unpleasantness of any sort. Everyone got along perfectly. Even the aminals in the compound did not fight. Everyone and everything in the compound was content and happy at all times.

Those of the village were amazed at the peace in Chang Kung's household and talked of it often. Eventually even the Emperor heard of the happy household. The emperor was curious and decided to visit this amazing household. He had to find out what the secret was to their happiness.

When Chang Kung saw the emperor approaching his home he rushed to welcome him. Upon arrival the emperor was astounded to see that everyone in the compound truly seemed to be happy.

The emperor asked Chang Kung, "How can you have all of these people living together in such happiness and contentment? What is your secret?"

Chang Kung did not answer the emperor immediately. HE merely took out his brush and began to write.
He continued to write for sometime, filling an entire sheet of paper. When he was finished, he handed the paper to the emperor.

The emperor read the paper. Written over and over again was one word.
The word was KINDNESS.

"Ahh," said the emperor, "Now I understand."

The emperor took the brush from Chang Kung and began to write.
He wrote a proclamation. In it he expessed his joy at finding a household such as Chang Kung's.
When he was finished, he told Chang Kung to paste the proclamation on his gate for all to see.

After that, Chang Kung's fame grew. People came from all around to read the emperor's proclamation and to ask for a picture of Chang Kung to hang in their own homes, so that they too could have peace and harmony.

To this day many Chinese kitchens have a picture of Chang Kung.
He is known as the Kitchen God.
He is there to remind them of the secret to happiness..........KINDNESS

retold by LLL, Storyteller/Storysinger