Devotion to His Stepmother Moves Heaven

Zheng Jian, Contributor, Dora Li, Contributing Translator

A man named Wang Xiang lived during the Jin Dynasty. He was well-known for his filial piety. Wang Xiang’s mother died when he was a child. His father remarried and his stepmother hated him. She frequently beat him and blamed him for the smallest things. Soon, Wang Xiang’s father joined his stepmother in berating him, and thus he had no one to speak up for him.

Wang Xiang’s stepmother treated him like a slave. He had to sweep the cowshed every day and do all the heavy household chores. Wang Xiang did whatever his stepmother told him to do, without a word of complaint. He did everything carefully and sincerely. Despite poor treatment, he demonstrated his filial piety toward both of his parents.

One day, his stepmother became so ill that she could not get up. She wished to eat carp, but since it was winter and all the rivers were frozen, where could Wang Xiang get carp for her? So, he walked to the frozen river. He undid his clothes and lay down on the ice, hoping to melt it with his body heat. As he lay there, he asked the Gods to help him fulfill his filial duty. Suddenly, the ice beneath him melted, and out jumped a carp! The story of Wang Xiang’s filial piety, “Lying on Ice for Carp,” has been passed down throughout the generations in China.

At the end of the Han Dynasty, the nation was torn apart by war. Wang Xiang’s father died. To escape disaster, Wang Xiang brought his stepmother and stepbrother to Lujiang, far away from the city. He protected them for 30 years. His filial piety deeply moved Luqian Shi, the Governor of Xu State. The governor appointed him an official in the state government. He was later promoted to the position of Taibao and given the responsibility of helping the young Emperor manage the nation. Later, he was granted the title Lord of Suiling.

Everyone said that he earned his high position because, despite having endured so much, he always maintained his filial piety.


It’s too bad this beautiful story will probably not make it to the classroom, though I pray it does.

Debbie June 22, 2022

Tho I understood the story, the words and images garnered from within, did not speak to me. Not until I read one of the comments did I realize that I am in the same position with different circumstances but equal challenge. Now I realize that I, too, must be true to my calling and no matter the treatment from those with whom I live, I must be faithful to the God I serve and in Whose name I serve others.

zeke abrams June 22, 2022

I said, “yes I have experienced how God rewards good or bad behavior.” It is good to give goodness to receive goodness. Always remember that both good and bad behavior is increased to being better or worse when you receive your selected behavior toward others.

Sondra Shorter May 04, 2021

The power of Love expressed through the human spirit; regardless of adverse circumstances, is unbeatable- At the end “Love” always triumph!!

Luis A Baquedo May 04, 2021

A beautiful story! Would be a wonderful world if everyone would read it and work to be like the young man in the story.

Patricia Nibdir May 01, 2021

Was not raised in the culture, I fully understood wonderful story

velvet May 01, 2021


Tanya Alva May 01, 2021

The story of devotion and compassion is a human trait needed to be told over and over again.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful and illustrative story.

Stan Jernigan April 29, 2021

This post was sent just in time. I really needed to read this and remember the beauty of true compassion from the heart. Thank you.

Shamika Hale April 29, 2021

Thank you ! Amazing 🙏

Lee April 29, 2021

So refreshing to read and be reminded of such wonderful humans as this. Thank you forevermore.

Vicky May 06, 2020

Kindhearted and unselfish people are always rewarded, in any form…

Manuela Nague April 28, 2020

What a strong beautiful inner character!

Riki Jo April 26, 2020

A very interesting story which can be understood fully when one is raised within the wonderful culture depicted in the story. For those raised in other cultures, the example provided gives readers a model applicable to all cultures & to all peoples.
Generosity towards others is a wonderful human quality that -through many different cultural examples- appear in ALL CULTURES.

Carmen Sánchez Sadek April 26, 2020

Beautiful story

Julie Anne April 25, 2020

such a touching story i would like to have that picture .is it for sale.

Vanessa Mercier April 25, 2020

Stories, such as this, remind us that there are (and can be) wonderous beings here with us; on this mandala we tread. Thank you for recalling one to us.

Mike Doyle April 23, 2020

God’s love is unchanging, unconditional and for ALL creation…that’s you and me too!

May such love flourish in the hearts of all on planet Earth! April 21, 2020

Enjoyed your story very much.

Fred Fairfield April 21, 2020

Thank you for sharing this beautiful tale with us.

Sandi April 21, 2020

To everything there are seasons of the soul.

David Sutton April 19, 2020

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