Ancient Chinese Stories: ‘Saving Mother From the Tiger’s Mouth’

July 30, 2018 Updated: August 10, 2018    

One day, after collecting firewood from the forest, Zhao Zan was on his way home. His mother was in the yard preparing to cook dinner. Then, a tiger ran into the village and directly into Zan’s yard. At that moment, Zan arrived at the village and all the villagers called out to him, “Don’t go home, a tiger just ran over there!”

Upon hearing this, Zan immediately thought of his mother’s safety. He took his pole and rushed to his yard. The tiger was just coming out of the yard with his mother in its mouth. Using all his strength, Zan beat the tiger with the pole. The yard was so narrow that the tiger could not turn its body with a person in its mouth, and neither could it fight back. The tiger received heavy and repeated blows from Zan. Finally, it put his mother down and turned to attack Zan.

At that critical moment, the county official sent more brave men to help, and they killed the tiger with arrows. Zan and his mother were saved from this disaster.

The head of the county knew that Zan was very frugal, and filial to his mother. He saw it with his own eyes when Zan fought with the tiger to save his mother. He praised Zan by hanging a banner on the front of Zan’s house. On the banner were two big characters that read “Filial Piety.” All the villagers were very happy to see it. His high moral standard had a large impact on the whole village, and everyone learned to have more filial piety from him.

Translated by Dora Li into English, this story is reprinted with permission from the book “Treasured Tales of China,” Vol. 1, available on Amazon.