Saturday, March 20, 2010

Litigating Brothers Awakened by a Mirror in the Courtroom

The Governor Who Judged a Case with the Help of a Mirror
---Litigating Brothers Awakened by a Mirror in the Courtroom

Original Chinese Text in 42 Chinese Words: 马恭敏公,作守。有兄弟老二争缠不休, 公命取一大镜,令兄弟同照之。见面庞相似,须发皓然,泣悟交让而出。(42个汉字)

In feudal China, a Governor is called Taishou (太守),who is also inherently the Chief Justice of the region he administrated.

Governor Gongmin MA once presided over a case of property dispute between two elderly brothers over inheritance. Before he allowed the parties to render an outline of argument or substantive evidence, Governor MA asked the bailiff to bring a big mirror to the bar table and ordered the litigating brothers to look into it side by side.

Quite astonished by such unusual process, the brothers obeyed nevertheless. IN seconds, they came to realize the similar facial outlines and white hair and beard on their heads. They suddenly cried sorrowfully and conceded, requested to withdraw the dispute and go home. His Honour so ordered.

The moral of the story: The mirror has helped them to realize they are siblings, and they have shared so much in the upbringing, such dispute over inheritance is not what their deceased parents would want to see, it is ruining their fraternal bond.

兄弟争讼,借镜省悟 Litigating Brothers Awakened by a Mirror in the Courtroom

马恭敏公当太守时,遇到两位年老的兄弟为争财产而不甘罢休, 诉讼到衙门。

  马恭敏公命令属下拿出一面大镜子,叫争讼的兄弟一同照镜子,他俩兄弟看见彼此面貌相似,胡须和头发都已经白了,心中有所省悟,哭泣而且交相让步地走出 衙门。(《德育古监》第102页)