A Pure Heart
A story from China
1 There once was
a poor farmer who had three daughters. They lived outside a small village and they struggled to make
it, but they were happy although years before the farmers wife had died due to a long
2 The daughters missed her, but were quite happy working the farm
and singing at night. People would come from surrounding villages just to hear them. The sisters
became know as the Nightingales because of their pure sound.
3 One day the
youngest sister became ill. She seemed to have the same disease that their mother had. The old farmer
looked down on his daughter and thought his heart would burst if he lost her to the same illness that
had taken his wife.
4 He wanted to go and get help for her, but they were
poor and he had no money to pay for a doctor. He felt trapped. How could he earn money to help his
beloved child? Then he decided that he would go into the Forbidden Forest and try to find the
legendary treasure that was said to be buried there.
5 He had wanted to go
for the treasure when his wife fell ill, but she had begged him not to saying, “Husband, what
will become of our daughters if something were to happen to you? And if I don’t get better,
what would happen to them then?”
6 “You are not only lovely, but
so level headed too,” he laughed. “What would I ever do without
7 “You would do what you must,” she whispered. Their
eyes met and he quietly nodded - taking her hands in his and brushing her hair gently out of her
eyes. She died later that night.
8 The old farmer woke thinking of that last
night with his wife and was even more determined to go and seek the treasure in the dangerous
Forbidden Forest. It was said that no one who ever entered the forest ever
9 Knowing that his daughter would protest, he quietly slipped out
of the house and left a note telling of his plan. He walked for days to reach the edge of the forest.
Once he looked into the forest his heart was filled with fear. He understood why no one would ever
want to enter. Then, he remembered the face of his wife and his sick daughter and decided he must go
10 As he walked deep into the forest he hear something behind him, but
when he turned there was nothing there. This continued all day and that night he could hear something
groaning outside his camp.
11 The next day was exactly the same as the day
before. He could hear something following him. Then, at night, the groaning. He was becoming more and
more afraid, but something told him that he must find out what was following
12 He quietly rose from his bed roll, and slipped into the forest. He
waited for several minutes, letting his eyes adjust to the dark, then he crept slowing toward the
sound. Just ahead he saw an enormous shadow.
13 As the moon shone through a
moving cloud, he clearly saw a giant creature moaning and holding its foot. Just then it looked up
and saw the farmer. “Fall down and fear the mighty beast!” It
14 The old man sank down to one knee trembling with fear, but then
he saw the face of his dear children in his mind. This gave him courage and he stood saying,
“What ails the mighty beast?”
15 “Never mind, go on your
way or die!” It screamed.
16 “No, I will help you
instead,” said the farmer as the fear fell from him. “I can see that you are hurt and
need some help, and I will do what I can to ease your pain.”
“No one ever wants to help me, they come in my forest to steal from me, or try and kill
me,” said the beast with a look of distrust in his eyes. “Why would you help
18 “Because I have needed help in my life and no one ever
gave it to me.” With that, the farmer slowly approached the beast making sure the beast could
see his empty hands. He didn’t want the beast to think that he had any evil
19 “Stop!” grumbled the beast. “I will crush you
like a bug if you don’t stop!”
20 The farmer paused and then
said, “Friend, I have no desire to harm you, and as you have said, you could crush me at
anytime. I am reaching into my bag because I can see that you have a nasty cut on your foot. I have
an herb that will soothe it, and heal it.”
21 With that, the farmer
slowly produced a jar with the herb. He took it out and rubbed some on his own arm to prove to the
beast that it would not harm him. The farmer then slowly walked up to the beast and began applying it
to the beast’s wound.
22 “Ahh...that feels good. I thought you
had come to my forest to steal from me, or try to kill me. Why are you
23 The farmer hesitated, should he tell the beast the truth. He
had come to find a treasure, but he knew now that the beast considered it stealing. What would the
beast do to him? He had always lived as an honest man, so he knew he must tell the truth. He told the
beast his story and waited to see what would happen next.
24 “You told
me the truth...knowing that it might cost you your life. You helped me, knowing too, that it could
cost you your life. You have a pure heart. You risked your life to save your daughter. You have
touched me farmer, deep, deep, inside.”
25 As the beast uttered these
last words a bright light began to shine out from him. The farmer shielded his eyes. The beast began
to change form. When the light died down, the farmer no longer saw the beast, instead he saw a
handsome man richly clothed.
26 “Don’t be afraid farmer. I was
cursed to roam this forest many years ago by an evil witch. Your kindness has freed me.
Thank-you.” The farmer was speechless.
27 The man gave the farmer a
small pouch of gold and told him that if he ever needed anything to come back to the forest and he
would do all that he could for him. The farmer thanked him and hurried back home to find a doctor for
Where in the text does farmer help the beast?
|Paragraph 1 & 26|
|Paragraph 21 & 24|