One morning, in the Song Dynasty, Huang Ting Jian was practicing taichi. As the sun rose, a servant came by.
” Did my mother wake up yet?” he asked the servant as he wiped away his sweat.
” Yes, lao ye. She just did.”
” I’m going to go see her.”
Huang Ting Jian walked to his mother’s room.
“Mother, do you feel quite energized today?” he asked as he held her breakfast in a tray.
” Yes, yes.” she replied as he set the tray in the maid’s hand.
He picked up a bowl of porridge, stirred it, and tasted it, checking its taste, texture, and temperature.
” Mother. Try some of this porridge. It’s delicious.”
” Okay, let’s taste it.” she said.
He brought the spoon up to her mouth and she swallowed two spoonfuls.
” Mmm, it tastes delightful.” she chuckled.
Later in the day, two maids noticed Huang Ting Jian walking into his mother’s room.
” Lao ye is so good to his mother.” one of the maids said.
” Yes, and he is a politician.” the other replied.
” Yes, what kind of politician empties out the chamber pot?”
” We all think the chamber pot is dirty and smelly, and we’re not willing to wash it. But Lao Ye doesn’t care of the stench! He doesn’t mind at all!”
” Not just not minding it, he does it every day! His mother’s so lucky.”
” Lao Ye’s coming!” the first maid said.
They both walked off as Huang Ting Jian walked out with the chamber pot. He walked to the river, and cleaned it out patiently.
Meanwhile, as a maid helped the old woman into her room, the old woman noticed that the chamber pot was missing. She sighed.
” This child, not listening!” she muttered.
” Who’s not listening, Mother?” he asked.
” You, of course! How many times have I told you. Washing chamber pots- servants could do that! A person of your rank should not be washing the chamber pots.”
” Mother, as your son, I should be doing these kinds of things. Please don’t chastise me.” he said as he put the chamber pot against the wall.
” Pay attention to your rank. You’re still a politician. People would make a joke of this.”
” As a son, I should do this. Who will joke about it?”
” Ai! I can’t argue over you.”
Later that night, when it was time for sleep, he decided it was time to go back to his own room.
” Mother, I’ll be leaving. Good night.”
He left the room.
The old woman sat idly, staring into space, recalling the memories from that day, how her son has been so good to her.
“Mistress? Mistress. It is time to sleep.” a maid said.
” Yes. Time to sleep.”
The maid tucked her into bed, drew the curtains, blew out the candle, and went outside.