One year in the Eastern Han Dynasty, there was a serious famine in I-Jenan.
One night, a thief sneaked into Chen Shi’s house and hid himself on the beam. When Chen Shi was aware of this, he got out of bed without haste, called his children and grandchildren to his room and said in a stern voice:
"One must always restrain and encourage oneself no matter under what circumstances. Bad men were not born bad. It is only become they don’t restrain themselves that they develop bad habits and turn bad gradually. That gentleman on the beam is just a case in point."
Much ashamed upon hearing this, the thief hiding on the beam promptly jumped down to the ground, kowtowed and begged for forgiveness.
Chen Shi enlightened him by saying:
"Judging from your appearance, you don’t look like a bad man. Perhaps you are driven by poverty to steal. But you should carefully examine yourself and turn over a new leaf."
Then he immediately asked someone to bring two bolts of white silk to give the thief as a present. The thief kowtowed and thanked him repeatedly.
Since then, very few thefts occurred in this locality.
One day a man walking on the road met a celestial, who happened to be an old friend of his.
Seeing that his life was hard, the celestial pointed with his finger at a brick on the roadside, which turned into a gold brick at once. And he gave it to the man.
But the man was not satisfied. The celestial pointed again with his finger at a large stone lion at the gate, which at once turned into a gold lion. And he gave it to him too. But the man still complained it was not enough.
The celestial asked him:
"My friend, how much will be enough for you? What should I do to satisfy you?"
The man hummed and hawed and said:
"I want your finger."
Gong Mingyi was a famous musician in ancient times, who played the lute very well.
One day, while playing the lute indoors, Gong Mingyi saw a cow eating grass leisurely outside the window. He had a sudden whim to play some melodies for the cow. He first played the "Exercise of Qing Jiao", but the cow still kept on eating grass with head lowered. He seemed to realize that the melody was too highbrow for the cow to understand.
So he played several other melodies, imitating the buzzing sounds of swarms of flying mosquitoes, and the bleats of a calf looking for its companions. At this, to his surprise, the cow stopped eating grass, but raised its head, pricked up its ears, wagged its tail and, pacing up and down in small steps, began to listen attentively.