A Tale from Old China


Once, long ago, an old man named Chang Kung lived with four generations of his family in a small village. They all lived so happily together that not even the animals fought with each other.

The news of this unusual family spread throughout all the kingdom. When the Emperor of the Dragon Throne heard about it, he decided to try to find out the secret of their happiness.

One day he and the people of his court marched solemnly up to the gates of the Chang family.

“Oh, Royal Highness,” Chang Kung greeted the emperor, “what great honor you bring to our simple household.”

“We have come,” said the emperor, “to learn why there is such peace among you that even your animals do not fight.”

“You are most welcome to see and talk with each member of my household, even down to the youngest among us,” Chang Kung said quietly.

So those who had come with the emperor went all through the rooms of the large house, talking to every person. They found only peace and happiness everywhere. When they reported this to the emperor, he asked Chang Kung to tell him the secret for keeping so many people happy.

Chang asked a servant to bring him his ink stick and brush and then on a bamboo tablet he wrote a hundred characters (words) and gave the tablet to the emperor.

“You have written the same word a hundred times!” the emperor exclaimed. “What does this mean?”

Old Chang smiled gently. “Yes, Most Honored One,” he said. “I have written the word Love over and over again, for that is the only thing that can ever hold the secret to peace.”

When the news of this visit of the Emperor of the Dragon Throne reached the people of the Dragon Kingdom, they all asked for a picture of Chang Kung. They placed his picture over their family hearths and prayed that they too might learn to love each other as much as Chang Kung and his family did so that happiness would come to their homes, to their country, and someday to all the world.

If there is right in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person;
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be love in the home;
If there is love in the home,
There will be order in the nation;
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.

Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet.

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.

(D&C 58:21–22, 27.)

[illustrations] Illustrated by Nina Grover