Dong Yong and the Weaving Maiden: A Filial Heart Moves the Heavenly Emperor

The story of Dong Yong, a devoted son who sold himself into slavery to bury his father and encountered the Weaving Maiden from Chinese folklore during his journey.

During the Han Dynasty, Dong Yong was a resident of Qiancheng. When he was a child, he lost his mother and lived with his father. While working in the fields, he used a small cart to help his father. After his father passed away and he couldn’t afford the burial expenses, he sold himself into slavery to provide a proper burial for his father. His master recognized his virtue and gave him ten thousand coins to return home. Dong Yong observed a three-year mourning period and intended to return to his master’s house to fulfill his duties as a servant. Along the way, he encountered a woman who said, “I am willing to be your wife.” So, Dong Yong brought her to his master’s house. The master said to Dong Yong, “I have given you that money.” Dong Yong replied, “I am grateful for your kindness, which allowed me to bury my father. Although I am humble, I will work hard to repay your great kindness.” The master asked, “What can your wife do?” Dong Yong said, “She can weave.” The master said, “As you said, let your wife weave one hundred pieces of double-threaded fine silk for me.” So, Dong Yong’s wife wove silk for the master’s house, and she completed it in ten days. Afterward, the woman and Dong Yong left the master’s house, and as they exited, she said, “I am the Weaving Maiden from the heavens. Because of your filial piety, the Heavenly Emperor has allowed me to help you repay your debts.” After saying this, she flew into the sky and disappeared, her destination unknown.

《董永与织女》

汉董永,千乘人。少偏孤,与父居。肆力田亩,鹿车载自随。父亡,无以葬,乃自卖为奴,以供丧事。主人知其贤,与钱一万,遣之。永行三年丧毕,欲还主人,供其奴职。道逢一妇人曰:“愿为子妻。”遂与之俱。主人谓永曰:“以钱与君矣。”永曰:“蒙君之惠,父丧收藏。永虽小人,必欲服勤致力,以报厚德。”主曰:“妇人何能?”永曰:“能织。”主曰:“必尔者,但令君妇为我织缣百匹。”于是永妻为主人家织,十日而毕。女出门,谓永曰:“我,天之织女也。缘君至孝,天帝令我助君偿债耳。”语毕,凌空而去,不知所在。

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