Master Hua's Amnesia


Master Hua lived in Sate Song and suffered from amnesia when he reached middle age. If he had something in the morning he would forget it by evening; if he was given something in the evening he would forget it by morning. The whole family was upset but they tried prayers, diviners, and healers to no avail. A Confucian from State Lu said he might be able to help. His wife offered half of their property for this remedy. The Confucian said, “This is not something for prayers, diviners, or medicine. I will try to change his thoughts and dissolve his worries. There may be a chance that he recovers.”

The Confucian exposed the patient to cold and he asked for clothes, let the patient go hungry and he looked for food, led the patient into darkness and he sought for light. The Confucian was delighted to say that the illness was curable.

The Confucian said, “My arts are a family secret and are not disclosed to outsiders. May I stay alone with the patient in his room for seven days?”

The family agreed and after a long week, the disease was dispelled. But Master Hua was very angry after his memory was restored. He dismissed his wife, punished his sons, and drove the Confucian away with a spear. Neighbours asked him why, and he said, “It was bondless with the amnesia, and I was not aware of the existence of heaven and earth. Now suddenly I remember all the disasters and recoveries, gains and losses, joys and sorrows, loves and hates of the last few decades. They are all tangled in my mind like ten thousand threads. I fear similar losses and gains, sorrows and joys will keep coming to confound my heart just as much. Shall I never again find a moment of forgetfulness?” (Leih Tzu Chapter 3) Click here to read previous fables