The Wolf of Zhongshan

The Wolf of Zhongshan is a popular Chinese fairy tale deals with the ingratitude of a creature after being saved. The story is set during the late Spring and Autumn Period.

King Jian of Zhou was leading a hunting party through Zhongshan when he happen to come across a wolf. King Jian takes aim with his bow and arrow but misses and hits a stone instead. The wolf desperately flees through the forest with the hunting party in pursuit. As the wolf makes it way through the forest he stumbles upon a traveling Mohist scholar Mr. Dongguo.

 The wolf appeals to the scholar’s belief of “universal love” and implores for his help. Mr. Dongguo takes pity on the creature and hides it in one of his books bags strapped to his donkey. When the hunters approach him, Mr .Dongguo denies any knowledge of the wolf’s whereabouts. After the hunters had left Mr. Dongguo lets the wolf out of his bag.

 The wolf now asked the scholar to save his life again, this time from starvation. Mr. Dongguo offered the wolf some pastries, but the wolf smile and said “I don’t eat those, I dine solely on meat”. Puzzled, Mr. Dongguo inquires if the wolf intended to eat his donkey and the wolf replies “No, no, donkey meat is no good”. To Mr. Dongguo’s surprise, the hungry wolf pounced on him and announced intention to eat him. When Mr. Dongguo protests at the wolf’s ingratitude, the wolf presents the argument: since the scholar saved his life once why not do it again? Besides, the wolf complained that it nearly suffocated while it was crammed in the scholar’s bag and the scholar now owed him.

 Dongguo and the wolf debated and finally decided to present their case to the judgment of an elder farmer who was going by there. The farmer was skeptical and didn’t believe that the wolf could fit into the bag. To illustrate its point, the wolf crawled back into the bag and right away the old farmer tied up the bag and started to beat the wolf with his hoe. The farmer scolded Mr. Dongguo, “You are so silly. It is the creature which eats a person. Then, why did you show mercy to the fierce animal?”

After reading this fairy tale, I could realize the reason why it is popular in China. It gives plenty of lessons to people. First, it satirizes the scholar who has a lot of knowledge but is not streetwise. If you just have knowledge from books and study but don’t know how you should apply it to the real situation, you are just nerdy. Second, the story praises the person who has the wisdom of life but does not belong to high class people or occupation. In, this fairy tale, it is interesting part that the farmer, low-class person, saved and scolded the scholar who is considered high-class person. I think it is a satire and reflects the people’s complaint about ridiculous high-class people. Last, it is a didactic novel which is about the rewarding of virtue and the punishment of evil, so, Mr. Dongguo who did good will could save his life, and the Wolf which did evil finally be punished.

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