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A Good Magistrate
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I want to share with you a story I have heard.
 
Once upon a time in China, there was a village which stood by a large river.Every year the river flooded its banks and  cost a great loss of lives and properties. The elders and administrators decided to do something about it.
 
According to some witch women and witch doctors,the goddess of the river was angry and had to be appeased.
 
So at the beginning of every year, a boy and a girl were chosen as sacrifice to please the river goddess.The villagers began to be
very afraid of these cruel custom.  The rich people could escape the evil fate by bribing the authority not to choose their children but the poor could not.Slowly villagers ran away from this village to live in other places where there was no such practices.
 
One year, She Meng Pau became the magistrate of this village and came to know about this supersticious practice.
 
It was the beginning of the year and the occasion for the yearly ritual of sacrifice. Shee Meng Pau  himself took charge of this important event.
 
The whole village turned out for the occasion or the river  goddess would be angry.The pair of children cried until they fainted. Their parents wailed in such a broken-hearted way  that even the sun hid behind the clouds and dared not see such cruelty.
 
Justice She Meng Paulooked stern and cool and insisted in  doing this rite properly as he was new in the office.
 
He imeditely showed disaproval at the poor sight the two crying children made.
 
 
" These two children are a poor sight to look at.I'm sure the river goddess will not be pleased with them. Hey, there you two, go tell the river goddess the ceremony will be posponed to a later datewhen two more beautifil childrenare chosen. "
 
He ordered two witch women to be thrown into the river for the purpose.
 
After a while, the two women did not turn up. She Man Pau again showed his disapproval and sent another two into the water to make the appeal.
 
At last he said," May be I should sent men as men are smarter than women."
 
He ordered two men of distinguished position to be thrown into the river.
 
 
In the end all his officers got scared and  ran away.So this ceremny was not carried out that day.
 
 The relieved parents hugged their tear-stained children tightly and kept thanking Pau for having saved their beloved children and sent  the cruel officers  and his gang to be drowned in the river.
 
After this nobody dared to practise this yearly sacrifice.
 
She Meng Pau then explained to the people that there was no such thing as river goddesses.It was purely superstitions. He led the people to work to improve the dranage around the village. So  the village
was no longer so easily flooded.
 
From this story we can see that Ignorance can cause people their lives.
 
How blessed we are that we live in this year of millenium when science and technology are so advance.Or are we really that blessed? 
 
 
 
By  Agatha Lai  ( 8.1.03 )
 

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