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The story of LUU-BINH and DUONG-LE

By Tran Van Dien

Long ago there were two very close friends. One named Luu-Binh, came from a wealthy family; the other, named Duong-Le, came from a pool family.

Knowing that Duong-Le did not have enough money to study, Luu-Binh kindly invited him to come and live with him to help him. Conscious of his poverty, Duong-Le was hard working and industrious while Luu-Binh, satisfied with his wealth, was wasteful and lazy. As expected, when the final examination arrived Luu-Binh failed while Duong-Le succeeded. He then became a high-ranking official and lived comfortably in a big house in the capital.

Luu-Binh went on with his idle, wasteful and extravagant way of life. Soon he had squandered all his fortune and was still not graduated. Reduced to bare poverty, Luu-Binh then remembered his old friend, now a high ranking official. So he made the trip to the capital and called at Duong-Le's to ask for help. Duong-Le pretended to be cold and indifferent because he knew his friend too well. If he helped him at once he would be always lazy.

"You're not my friend. All my friends are rich and important people not poor and ignorant like you." he shouted at Luu-Binh contemptuously. He then called: "Guards! See the man out. Give him some leftover rice and salt!"

Ashamed and disappointed to see that his friend was not too proud to remember their lifelong friendship, Luu-Binh sadly returned to his village, determined to study hard so that he would one day erase this shame.

In the meantime Duong-Le told his beautiful third wife, Chau-Long to dress as a girl selling silk, to go to Luu-Binh`s village, get acquainted with Luu-Binh and then propose to stay with him. She would be selling silk and supporting him while he was studying. She also promised that they would become husband and wife once he successfully completed his studies. Encouraged by that promise, Luu-Binh studied hard day and night. It was not long before the examination came again and Luu-Binh passed it. As soon as he heard the result he hurried home to share the good news with Chau-Long only to find that she had disappeared. Later on, Luu-Binh, too, was invited to serve as a high ranking official. But he did not forget the shame Duong-Le had caused him in the past. So he went to Duong-Le's to seek revenge. Duong-Le treated him completely differently when he arrived. This time he greeted him with open arms. He did not mind his friend's harsh words. Patiently waiting for his friend to calm down, Duong-Le then called his wife Chau-Long out to introduce her to his friend. Only then did Luu-Binh realize that Duong-Le, a true friend, had really helped him complete his studies. Both friends ran to each other and hugged each other tightly. 1

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