Whose Lamb is This? Chapter Three:
Humaneness and Integrity
Mother gave Fanny a coloring book which had a children's song on each page. As Fanny colored, she sang the song "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Suddenly Fanny put down her crayon and exclaimed, "Mommy, I wish I had a little lamb, too!" Mother gently told her, "Each one of us already has our own little lamb right in our heart. You don't believe it? Well, let me tell you the story "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Fanny clapped her hands in delight. Mother's story is as follows:
Once upon a time, there was a red-haired little girl named Mary, who lived with her Grandma and a little lamb on the slope of a mountain. They did not have a single neighbor. One day, Mary led her little lamb out to graze on the mountainside as usual. But she became so engrossed in looking at her storybook, that when she discovered her lamb had disappeared, she had no idea where to look for it! Mary was awfully worried and started to cry. Suddenly she heard the sound of someone singing a cheerful tune, intermingled with bleating of a lamb. Before she even had time to wipe her tears dry, a big boy leading her little lamb appeared before her. "Hi! Do you know whose lamb this is?"
"It's mine, it's mine!" Mary cried at once, and the little lamb bleated in response. The big boy handed the rope for leading the lamb to Mary, who was both happy and at a loss for words.
The boy seemed to understand her, and smiling brightly, he said, "It's nothing. We are neighbors, so we should help each other out."
"Neighbors?" Mary's face was full of doubt. "But I thought—"
"Yup! I just moved here, to the other side of the slope."
Again, Mary didn't know what to say, for from early youth, she had never seen anyone except her Grandma, and she had no idea of how to interact with people. Seeming to understand her, the older boy sat down and said, "Don't be afraid. I used to be just like you, not knowing how act around people, and not very good at talking." He set his ax down on one side, and unloaded the wood he had been hauling to another side, as if getting ready for a long discussion. Mary hugged her little lamb, still not uttering a word.
"My name is Peter," the big boy introduced himself. "A long time ago, my parents lived right here. But after they passed away, I had to go to the big city to live with my uncle. At that time I was only seven."
Mary whispered, "I'm seven, too."
Peter looked at her gently and said, "A seven-year old child who had never had any neighbors, I suddenly found myself living in the busy city, with neighbors to my left and right, so close by, and a bunch of adults and children. I really didn't know what to do. Sometimes when I had to pass through a crowd, I would just push my way through, not knowing to say, "Excuse me." Or when I accidentally did something wrong, or bumped into someone, I didn't know to say, "Sorry." When others gave me something or helped me out, I just blushed like an idiot, not knowing to say, "Thank you." When I wanted to ask someone for something, I didn't know to say, "Please." As a result, I often made other people upset, and I was unhappy with myself as well. The other kids didn't like to play with me, and the grown-ups said I was unruly."
"And then what happened?" Mary asked anxiously.
Peter smiled happily and slowly continued, "Seeing the situation, my uncle sent me to school, but things still didn't improve, until a new teacher came one day." Peter paused, and then said, "He was a Chinese teacher, and he came from far, far away. He told us that his country was very ancient, but that it had a lofty culture." Thinking back, Peter recounted, "First he taught me one Chinese character." Using a narrow strip of wood, Peter drew the character for "person" on the ground.
"What does this look like to you?"
Mary tilted her head and looked at it: "It's like looking at a standing person from the side."
"Right!" Peter then added two strokes beside it. "These two strokes are the character for 'two'. When 'person' and 'two' are put together, the new character 'humane' is formed, which means to love people."
"When you are together with others, you must learn to get along well by not fighting, not being greedy, and not seeking. You should know how to make other people happy, so you will also be happy. That's what it means to love people. If you dislike other people, you can be sure they will not be happy, and they won't like you either, right?" Mary nodded her head, and released her lamb. Peter continued, "Learning to get along with people in harmony and joy is to be humane, and is what it means to love people. Because I love people, people also love me. Because people love me, I should also love people."
"I get it!" Mary's eyes brightened. "It's like my Grandma. Granny loves me, and we live together in harmony and happiness."
"Right! Every one of us has the seed of love and compassion in our heart, and it grows and develops towards our parents and relatives. That's why loving our own relatives is the most natural thing. And if you can expand this love to include other people, you will find that it's not at all difficult to love others and get along harmoniously with them." After saying this, Peter called "Miehhh, Miehh" to the lamb, and it scampered over to him. "See, even animals know when you're good to them, how much the more do people." Peter drew another large character for "humane" on the ground, and said, "But in getting along with others, it's not enough just to have love. Sometimes we want to love and care for others, but we often do things improperly, making people upset and angry."
Mary broke in, "That's just how I am. I often make Grandma angry, but I had never have any intention to make her mad."
"Right! So you have to learn another word." Peter wrote a big character for "righteousness." "Do you see that the upper half is the character for 'sheep'? It looks just like a sheep, with horns, a face, and eyes--isn't it cute? And the lower half is the character for 'I'."
"Is it my lamb?" Mary stared at her own lamb.
Peter smiled, and abruptly asked, "Whose lamb is this?"
"OK, it's your lamb. How do you treat it?"
"Well, I take care of it, and when it's time to graze, I bring it here to graze. When it's time to rest, I make a bed of hay so it can rest comfortably, and when it's time..." Mary paused, then said, "I can't describe it, but I just know what to do and when to do it."
"Exactly! Getting along with people is also like that. It's not enough just to love them. We must always think, 'This is my lamb and I am responsible for it.' Whatever it is that we should do, as long as it is proper, we should immediately do it. That's 'integrity'. Only if you can be like this can you get along well with others."
Mary thanked Peter happily, and led her lamb home. Now she has learned the words "humaneness" and "integrity," and knows how to get along with people and handle matters using humaneness and integrity.