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Worked honestly and industriously in the government



When he returned home, his father then invited outstanding scholars to teach him Confucius. In 1260, thirteen-year-old Zhang-Quanyi passed the county examination, but later he failed in many examinations, not because that his essay was bad, but then politics situation was unfair. When the Mongols established the Yuan Dynasty, they divided the whole nation into four degrees: the first was Mongol, the second the minorities in the west of China, the third the Han nationality, the fourth the Han nationality of the South Song Dynasty. Zhang was a Hanese, in the third degree, so accordingly he could not have a fair treat in examination and matriculation. He was not depressed, just kept on studying, not only Confucius, but also Taoism and Buddhism.
He had begun to study Taoism and practice cultivation and swordplay, so he was not only profound in learning, but also healthy and strong in body. He had made up his mind that he would never marry until he succeeded in the government. The parents agreed with him, so he worked harder than before.
When he was 45, his father got a serious illness and could be cured. When dying, the father sent for the son to his bed and encouraged him to work hard to be an important official in the government so as to make up for his own pity. He said that Zhang-Quanyi was just in his fourties, which was the best time to make successes. Excited, he kneeled down before his father and vowed that he would go to Beijing, have a good performance in the imperial examination, and to be a successful official, not idle away the life.
Just after his father's death, his mother died too. He was staying at home mourning his parents and studying. Ten years later, he passed the imperial examination; not bribed the relevant officials, he was ordered to be County Official in Qingyuan County.
The first thing he did when he took the post was to visit his teacher Zhang-Yun'an. When Zhang-Yun'an was very old with long white beards, but quite energetic. They had a long talk overnight. The teacher said to him, "There are three kinds of officials: honest officials, evil officials, and greedy officials. Honest officials help the people; evil officials cheated the people; greedy officials harm the people. Honest officials develop the country; evil officials delay the development; greedy officials make the country die. So that honest officials have a good fame remembered by people for a very long time; greedy officials have a bad fame remembered by people for a very long tome; evil officials have been laughed at by all the people. I hope that you will be an honest official and make a good contributions to the country and the people." Zhang-Quanyi agreed with many nods. Then the teacher continued, "It is dangerous to be a greedy official; easy to be an evil official; difficult to be an honest official. If you want to be an honest official, you should be determined to go through many hardships." He, in front of the teacher, vowed that he would be an honest official no matter how difficult it would be, never be an evil official or a greedy official.
During the Yuan Dynasty, there had a custom to trade people. At the beginning, the soldiers sold the captives from the battlefield as slaves; then they caught the students of the South Song Dynasty and traded them as slaves; at last, they robbed and traded innocent women as slaves, which became a custom. In all the man markets all over the country, most of the goods were women. In Qingyuan County there was a big market where people traded horses, oxen, goats, pigs, and donkeys on the left side of the road; traded students, adults, women, children on the right side of the road. So that there were very dirty and noisy, unbearable to man.
One day visited the man market privately, where he found many men kneeling there with a grass sign on their head, all in rages, thin and sad. He made up his mind that he must change the situation to treat humans as animals. There he met a raged old man had to sell his own daughter, for he had no money to cure his seriously sick wife in bed. Very sad, he gave the old man money and let them go home, without telling a word of himself.
Once he returned to the county court, he began to write a memorial to the throne, in which he pointed out many serious shortcomings of man market and applied the emperor to cancel man trade in the whole nation. Later, the emperor did set order to prohibit man trade. The government did prohibit man trade, but the Mongol aristocrats wantonly robbed lands in the central of China, made lot of peasants leave from their lands and travel to other places for life. They had no other choice to make a living but to sell their children, so that slave trading could not be prohibited. Under this circumstance, a landlord in Qingyuan County came to ask for help from Zhang-Quanyi.
The landlord, named Lin-Shaokun, who had a fifteen-year-old daughter, had a steady friendship with Zhang-Yun'an, the teacher of Zhang-Quanyi. Heard that the government would look for unmarried women all over the country and then give them to Mongol aristocrat as slaves, so he came to Zhang-Yun'an for an advice. Zhang thought for a moment and said, "Maybe your daughter have predestined relationship with my student. He made up his mind not to marry until he pass the imperial examination and have a position in the government. Now he has just begun his official duty, having not married yet." Asked who, Zhang told him that it was the County official of Qingyuan County, Zhang-Quanyi. He was very glad to marry his daughter to the county official, but he wondered whether the county official would accept her or not; so he asked Zhang-Yun'an to write a letter to Zhang-Quanyi, for the purpose of making the match.
So Zhang-Quanyi married Lin's daughter and they had a happy and sweet marriage. Several years later, they had a clever daughter who could read books at three, recite poems of the Tang Dynasty and verses of the Song Dynasty. Having a daughter when he was very old, Zhang loved her very much and treated her as the apple of his eye.

 

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