A Perfect Friendship
Duong Le was a poor student who had to work hard as a common labourer in order to finance his studies. On the other band, his friend, Luu Binh, had inherited a small fortune and seemed well-situated for life. When Luu Binh learned that Duong Le's studies were suffering because of the long hours of work he determined to invite him to live at his home until the triennial examination.
Thereafter, the two
friends shared the same food and studies beneath the light of the same lamp. As
often happens, Duong Le was conscious of his needy situation and worked hard,
spending long nights in study.
Meanwhile, Luu Binh became over-confident because of the security of wealth and ceased to study as before. When the examinations were held, Duong Le passed as expected, and was appointed mandarin. Luu Binh failed. The wealthy young man returned home despondently. In his despair he gave himself up to selfindulgence and recklessly squandered his fortune. In desperation he tried the examinations again, but again met with failure.
Recalling that Duong
Le was in charge of one of the district administrations in the area, he
swallowed his pride and turned to him fat assistance. To his surprise, Duong Le
not only refused to receive him, but also ordered his guard to drive him
Luu Binh trudged on with his small bundle of possessions at the end of a stick. His weary gait and downcast mien told the story of a man's failure in life. That night Luu Binh arrived at a small roadside inn and made the acquaintance of the mistress, a comely young woman named Glau Long. She welcomed him with a cup of steaming tea and listened sympathetically as Luu Binh recounted the long story of his failures. Chau Long encouraged him to try again. She suggested that he remain at the inn and promised to help him in every way possible.
Freed from the
temptations of excessive wealth, Luu Binh devoted himself exclusively to his
studies. The tender days passed quickly and the time for the examinations
approached. When the results were published, Luu Binh's name was at the top of
the list. He returned to the inn with the good news, but to his dismay Chau Long
had disappeared. He searched for her everywhere, but she was not to be found.
Finally, the new mandarin resigned himself to unhappiness and departed for his
Many years passed until one day, in the execution of his duties, Luu Binh happened to be passing through the district of his old friend, Duong Le. The memory of his friend's ingratitude did not prevent him from paying a visit. This time Duong Le welcomed his fellow mandarin with great pleasure and offered him tea.
As they were drinking and talking, a woman entered the reception room. She
approached the two men smiling. Consternation and astonishment crossed Luu
Binh's face, for in the woman he recognized Chau Long, the supposed mistress of
Duong Le then explained to his old friend that if he had helped him openly it would have produced no reform. Therefore he had sent his own wire to encourage and aid him, until he would pass the examinations. Re had been willing to make this sacrifice in the Dame of friendship. And that is why people in nod understandably and refer to the example of Duong Le and Luu Binh whenever they hear the story of a deep, unbreakable friendship