89. THE BEE'S KISS
Lu Xiaozheng was a minor official in northwestern China during the first half of the seventh century, at the beginning of the Tang dynasty, one of the great periods of Chinese history.
Unfortunately, Lu was a tightwad. He couldn't get along with others. He was mean and even cruel. If his servants did anything he didn't like, he would bawl them out and beat them. If he was like that to people, just think how he treated animals!
One day he noticed that the tree growing in his yard had a beehive in it. He was so stingy he didn't even want bees taking advantage of his tree. He told his servant to get rid of the hive, but the bees were buzzing busily around the hive, and the servant was afraid of getting stung.
That made Lu angry. He told his servant to boil up a bucket of water and pour it over the beehive. Hundreds of innocent bees were scalded to death.
That May was hot. Lu was taking a nap in the living room. He was sound asleep. Suddenly he leapt off the couch with a screech and rubbed his mouth. Something really hurt!
It turned out that a huge bee had gotten into the living room and stung Lu right on the mouth! His mouth swelled up. The pain was unbearable. He groaned and bellowed.
The servants came to see what was the matter. They got a doctor who put ointment on Lu's mouth, but it didn't work. The swelling got worse and worse and wouldn't go down. Lu couldn't even open his mouth to eat, much less to chew!
When the doctor saw that, he shook his head and said, "The poison may have gone into his heart."
The pain didn't go away. Lu got hungrier and hungrier, and weaker and weaker. He thought back and remembered the beehive he had wiped out. Maybe this was the result of his cruelty. Maybe. But by the time he thought about that, it was too late to do anything for him.