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In the Han Dynasty, there were two scholars named Zhang Shao (张劭) and Fan Shi (范式), and they were great friends. They studied together at the Imperial College of Supreme Learning, the highest educational institute at the time. After graduation, they each returned to their hometowns, but they planned to meet again in two years, when Fan Shi would go visit Zhang Shao’s home.
Two years passed, and Zhang Shao told his mother that his friend, Fan Shi, would be coming today. His mother said, “You two made that arrangement two years ago. Maybe he forgot by now. Besides, his hometown is so far away from here, are you sure he will come?”
Zhang Shao replied, “My friend is extremely trustworthy. I’m sure he will come.”
Then, he and his mother prepared the house and food for Fan Shi’s arrival. As Zhao Shao said, Fan Shi indeed arrived later that day. Their friendship continued to grow as time went on.
Later on, Fan Shi was critically ill, and he told his wife, “You must go find Zhang Shao, tell him I don’t have much time left, and bring him here to see me off.” So his wife rushed to find Zhang Shao. As soon as Zhao Shao heard the news, he rushed to Fan Shi’s town.
By the time Zhao Shao arrived, Fan Shi had already passed, and the funeral staff were trying to make his coffin. But for some reason, the staff couldn’t get the angles right. When Zhao Shao arrived, they suddenly were able to get the angle right. Then Zhao Shao personally buried Fan Shi and handled his funeral affairs. Furthermore, he took care of Fan Shi’s wife and children.
These two friends set a heart-moving example of what it means to be a true friend.