Once upon a time in China there was a man who became a retainer for a high official. The man fell in love with the official’s wife and the fact became known. So, in self defence, because the official was going to kill him, the man killed the official. He then ran away with the woman, and then together they became thieves. The woman was very greedy, till in the end this young man could not stand it any longer. He gave up being a thief and went away into the mountains where he started begging for his living, doing whatever jobs were available.
He thought that when he got up into these mountains he would get to know the people in the villages. There was one place where they used to have to go from one village to another over the mountains, and it was around a precipice. You all know what a precipice is – it is a big bank where you could fall down. Because of this precipice many people were killed, so the man decided he would dig a big tunnel from one village, right through the hill, to the other village.
So he started working. He used to try and do what he could through the day to get something to live on, and at night time he would work all night digging this big cave, which at first was a cave till it became a tunnel. He kept at this digging for thirty years and by that time the son of the official had become a great swordsman, and he found where this man was and he came to kill him. The man said to the official’s son, 'Yes, indeed I was wrong, and I have to pay for my sins. You can kill me, but let me finish the tunnel. I have only got a little while longer to go and it will be finished. Then you can cut off my head.' So the official's son agreed to this but he kept watching the man. The man still worked every night, and did what he could through the day to keep himself going. Finally the official's son began to feel very sorry for this man, he began to like him, and he started to help him dig.
So they dug on together, and after another two years the tunnel was finished, so the people could then go from one village to the other safely. As soon as it was finished the man said to the younger man, 'Well now I have done my duty. You can cut off my head,' but the younger man said, 'No, I could never do that, because you have become my teacher.'
Our story shows how we must keep at whatever we start to do and make a good job of it. We all do foolish things but if we try to be sorry and work hard Allah will help us and show us the right thing to do.