Mencius’s Mother Moved Three Times

Mencius’ mother changed their residence three times, in Chinese Meng mu San Qian (孟母三迁).

When first left a widow Menciuc’s mother lived with her little boy near a cemetery, the result being that the latter was always playing at funerals. Mencius’ mother was not pleased to see her son mimic the actions of those performing funeral rituals.

Removing to a house near market-place, she found that the boy now began to play at buying and selling, she was again not wholly satisfied when young Mencius would imitate the actions and words of those hawking goods.

Fearing the ill effect of these sordid associations, she next sought shelter near a college. There the young philosopher began to imitate the ceremonial observances in which the students were instructed, to the great joy and satisfaction of his mother, they settling down and finding contentment, the young Mencius intoned the lessons of teachers and followed their example of diligent study, and later he became one the greatest philosophers.

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