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Chinese Fable Stories

A Painted Snake Makes a Man Sick

In the Jin Dynasty, there lived a man named Le Guang, who had a bold and uninhabited character and was very friendly. One day Le Guang sent for one of his close friends since the friend had not turned out for long.

At the first sight of his friend, Le Guang realized that something must have happened to his friend for his friend has no peace of mind all the time. So he asked his friend what was the matter. "It was all because of that banquet held at your home. At the banquet, you proposed a toast to me and just when we raised the glasses, I noticed that there was a little snake lying in the wine and I felt particularly sick. Since then, I lay in bed unable to do anything."

Le Guang was very puzzled at the matter. He looked around and then saw a bow with a painted snake hung on the wall of his room.

So Le Guang laid the table at the original place and asked his friend again to have a drink. When the glass was filled with wine, he pointed to the shade of the bow in the glass and asked his friend to see. His friend observed nervously, "Well, well, that is what I saw last time. It is the same snake." Le Guang laughed and took off the bow on the wall. "Could you see the snake any more?" he asked. His friend was surprised to find that the snake was no longer in the wine. Since the whole truth had come out, his friend recovered from his prolonged illness right away.

For thousands of years the story has been told to advise people not to be too suspicious unnecessarily.

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