???Fan Li was a fabulously rich man in Qi. He had three sons. When he learned that his second son was arrested on a charge of murder in Chu, he decided to send his youngest son there on a rescue mission.
???His eldest son. protested. “As the eldest son, I should go. Ill be ashamed if you don’t let me save my brother.”
???Fan Li hesitated.
???“I must be unworthy. I'll kill myself.” His eldest son threatened.
???Fan Li's wife intervened and Fan Li gave in. He gave his eldest son twenty thousand ounces of gold and a letter addressed to a friend of his in Chu, Master Zhuang.
???“Give the letter and gold to Master Zhuang. Let him do whatever he likes with the money and don’t ask any question.”
???Master Zhuang lived in a modest house. He read Fan Li’s letter and accepted the money.
???“Please go home,” he told the young man. “Leave the matter to me.”
???Though poor, Master Zhuang had an impeccable reputation for being- a man of integrity. The king of Chu Held him in high esteem. Master Zhuang called on the king and told him that astrological signs pointed to an impending disaster.
???What can I do?” the king asked.
???“An act of cicmcncy c&n avert the danger. Master Zhuang suggested.
???Unbeknownst to him. Fan Li s eldest son stayed in Chu and used his own money to befriend a senior minister in the hope that he might hetp save his brother. When the minister heard the king ordered the treasury to be sealed, he hastened to tell Fan Li's son.
???“There will be an amnesty."
???“How do you know?
???The king always seals up the treasury before an amnesty because he does not like robbers taking advantage of the amnesty.
???Now there was no point giving so much gold to Master Zhuang, Fan Li's eldest son reasoned to himself. So he called on him again. Master Zhuang was surprised to see him.
???""You're still here. I thought you had gone home.
???“Yes?I am still here. I can go home with my brother now. There will be an amnesty. I m coming to say good-bye.
???Master Zhuang took the hint and was upset. He had no intention to keep the gold and meant to return it as soon as Fan Li's son was set free.
???The gold is in the next room,” he told Fan Li.s eldest son. "Go inside and take it back,
???The young man was gleejful that Master Zhuang did not spend any money, but Master liuang felt he had been tricked by the young man.
???his good that Your Majesty decided to issue an amnesty after our conversation he said to the king the following day. “But now it is the talk of the town that Fan Li s son was convicted of murder and his family bribed your ministers. They say the amnesty is granted in order to spare his life. Not a real gesture of clemency.”
???What absurdity I think The king was enraged. “The amnesty is not meant to save the life of a rich man’s son, you know that.” Thereupon he ordered Fan Li’s second son to be executed and then declared an amnesty.
???When Fan Li’s eldest son returned home with his brother’s body, Fan Li’s wife cried her eyes out, but Fan Li kept his poise.
???“I suspect things would come to this,” he said to his wife. “Not that my eldest son does not love his brother, but he is close-fisted. He just could not help himself. When he was young, he went through a lot of hardships with me building up the family fortune. My youngest son has lived an easier life. He eats fine food, wears fine clothes, rides fine horses and has acquired extravagant habits. He does not understand where money comes from. That’s why I wanted to send him to Chu because he would be generous with money. Something my eldest son is not capable of. Now he saved the gold, but ended up killing his brother.”