Section One. He Fulfilled His Responsibility
Good Man Wang's family owned some land by the hillside in his younger days. But due to insufficient manure, the harvest was poor. So, when he was fourteen, he worked as a cowherd for his cousin Wang Su-Te. Everyday, he led the cow up the mountain to graze in the pasture, making sure it did not munch the neighboring farmer's crops. He often noticed the other cowherds driving their cattle into a confined area. They did not care if the vegetation was lush or if the cows had enough to eat. If a cow or sheep strayed, they would beat it severely, sometimes even breaking its leg. Sometimes the animal's wounds would fester with maggots. Those that did not get enough to eat would fall ill or die. The strong ones sometimes attacked the weak ones with their horns.
Deeply pained by what he saw, Good Man Wang did not take his cow to where the other cowherds were. After his cow had drunk water, he would not let it trot around lest it get short of breath and fall ill. In the bitter winter, he would bring the calf into the caretaker's room at night to keep it from freezing to death. The cattle he watched over all grew stout, with lustrous and smooth hair as lustrous as oil and as smooth as water. During his two years as a cowherd, he did not harm a single cow nor let them injure themselves. Good Man Wang often admonished the other cowherds saying, 'We have been allowed to make a living on account of these cattle and sheep. If we do not raise and feed them well, so that they grow plump and multiply, are we not without conscience?'
Apart from ascending the highlands to tend cattle, he also raised pigs, dogs, chickens and ducks. Everyday he would securely latch the chickencoop and pigsty, and at night he would warm up twelve brick beds. (In the severe cold of northern China, people slept, ate and lived on beds of brick. Tubes running beneath the beds allowed one to start a fire to keep warm.) For each bed, he had to observe the direction of the draft because it could sometimes cause an inversion. When the winters were warm, each brick bed required two small bundles of sorghum stems, or one large bundle for elderly folk. After burning enough sorghum stems, he would close the opening to keep the warm air inside and the cold draft outside. Whatever task his employer gave him, he would do his best to carry it out, continuing to toil even in times of wind or rain. His employer was very pleased with him for he never caused the employer to worry.