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Boy Encounters Thieves on a Mountain

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

In the Han Dynasty, there was a filial boy named Cai Shun (蔡顺). One time, the boy was out in the mountains picking mulberries. On the way home, he encountered some a gang of thieves. The thieves were about to steal the mulberries that the child picked, but the leader noticed that the young boy separated the berries into two baskets.

The gang leader asked, “Boy, these are just mulberries. Why did you spend time separating them into two baskets?

The boy replied, “One basket is for the sweet mulberries. Those are for my mother. The other basket is for the sour ones. Those are for me.

The gang leader was extremely moved by this boy’s filial piety, and he was reminded of his own mother. Not only that, the gang leader even offered the boy some of the rice they stole from the villagers.

The boy politely declined and went back home.


The first lesson is that we all have goodness inside of us. Even thieves can feel shame in front of virtuous people.

The second lesson is that good intentions require wisdom to get good results. Good intentions without wisdom can easily lead to bad results. If the boy had accepted the offerings from the thieves, then the boy would've gotten accused of stealing from the villagers. That would bring shame to his whole family.


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