Adaptation of an ancient Chinese fable
Hundreds of years ago there lived in China a gentleman named Zou Ji. This man knew that he was very handsome and spent the day looking at himself in the mirror to enjoy his own beauty.
– Oh, how lucky I am! I have a delicate face, a slender body and a natural grace that attracts attention. Nature has been very generous to me!
His style and elegance were famous throughout the kingdom, but there were rumors that there was another man who could rival him in beauty: a certain Mr. Xu, who lived in another city in the north of the country.
One morning one of the maids called Zou Ji’s room.
– Sir, I remind you in an hour you have an appointment in your office with an important businessman.
– It’s true! I get ready and go down to receive it.
Zou Ji washed up, dressed in his best clothes, and as always, he found himself gorgeous.
As he looked himself up and down in front of the mirror, he asked his wife:
– Dear wife, I don’t know that Mr. Xu they talk about so much, but you do. Tell me who is more beautiful of the two?
His wife replied immediately:
– You, dear, of course Mr. Xu is handsome but he’s nowhere near your beauty!
Zou Ji was very pleased with the answer, but was not satisfied and decided to get a second opinion. He left his bedroom, went down the marble steps that led to the study and passed the housekeeper, a trustworthy woman who had worked in the family home for more than twenty years.
The mistress wished him good morning with a nod, without pausing.
– Good morning sir!
– Wait a moment! I want to ask you a question and please be honest with me.
– You will say.
– I know that you also know the famous Mr. Xu and I need you to tell me if he is more beautiful than me.
The answer was resounding:
– Sir, have no doubts of any kind. You are much more beautiful and attractive than him!
Zou Ji was grateful for the compliment but the doubt continued to haunt his head as he headed to his personal office.
Soon there was a knock at the door. Again, it was the servant.
– Sir, your guest has just arrived.
– Thank you, tell him to come in!
Zou Ji greeted the businessman with a friendly smile and invited him to sit in a comfortable chair.
– If you don’t mind, before we get into professional matters I want to ask you a very personal question.
– Of course I don’t care! What do you want to know?
– I know that you live in the north of the country like Mr. Xu and that you are childhood friends.
– You’re not mistaken, that’s right.
– And according to your opinion he is more beautiful than me?
The gentleman looked surprised at the bizarre question but answered with confidence.
– Please don’t worry about it. You are very beautiful, much more beautiful than him beyond comparison!
– Thank you very much, you leave me alone. Now, if you want, tell me what brings you here.
Three days passed and by chance Mr. Xu visited the city. The news spread like wildfire, Zou Ji found out, and he quickly ran to tell his wife.
– My dear, Mr. Xu will be in town for a while and I want to meet him! I sent him a notice asking him to come to our house for lunch today and he has gladly accepted the invitation.
– What good news, my love! I’ll notify the service so that everything is ready at one o’clock.
– Great! I’m going upstairs to dress up a bit. I have to think carefully about what I’m going to wear… I’m finally going to check with my own eyes if I’m more handsome than him!
Mr. Xu showed up very punctually and the couple came out to greet him. As soon as Zou Ji saw it, she was stunned!
He was a very handsome boy who exuded an innate elegance impossible to surpass. Her teeth were perfect, she had large emerald green eyes, and her skin seemed smoother than silk itself. Not to mention, she moved exquisitely as if her feet were floating off the ground!
Zou Ji felt sunk in misery. It was obvious that Mr. Xu was a much more handsome and seductive guy than him!
That night disappointment and sadness did not let him sleep. The worst thing for him was not realizing that he was not as handsome as Mr. Xu, but realizing something much more important and something he had never thought about.
– “My wife told me that I was more beautiful than Mr. Xu because he loves me and goes out of his way to please me; my housekeeper told me the same thing because she is afraid that I will fire her from her job; the businessman who visited me also assured me that I was more beautiful because he needs me to earn money…
Zou Yi, saddened, sighed:
– How difficult it is to know what others really think!
Moral: We all like to be told nice things and how fantastic we are, but it’s good to know that there are people who do it just for interest. Be wary of those who spend the day complimenting you and telling you that you are the best at everything. You know what your virtues, your abilities and your limits are, and the important thing is to trust yourself and what your heart tells you.