January 22, 2022
KCNA Naenara (En)

Kang Kam Chan and His Mother

Date: 20/10/2021 | Source: Naenara (En) | Read original version at source

Among the patriotic generals in the period of Koryo (918-1392) is Kang Kam Chan (948-1031). It is said that he was taught the Thousand-Character Text when he was three years old, and that he mastered books on military arts at the age of 7.

One day, his mother advised her son who was reading a book in the room: If you are to grow up to be a sage, you should not memorize the contents of books at random but understand their meaning. Quotation-mongering method is of no use.

And she asked him to tell the typical fruits of the country. He answered at once that they were apricot, peach and pear.

Shaking her head in denial, she explained as follows:

Any fruits we eat usually cannot become typical ones of the country. The standard of a fruit is decided not by its taste or aroma but by its practicality.

In general, people would add jujube or chestnut when preparing yakbap (a sweet rice dish) or broth, not apricot or peach. Therefore, a typical fruit of the country should be a practical fruit of high nutritive value which can take the place of rice and be used as a tonic and stored for a long time.

Kang Kam Chan cherished in his mind her words that he must delve deep into the gist of matters and learn something essential to the living by himself.

Afterwards, he tried hard to understand the essence of matters and phenomena in combination with practice.

His studying method proved effective in the battle to defeat foreign aggressors.

When he commanded a battle in his advanced age, an urgent situation was created for him to promptly dispatch soldiers to defend the capital.

The soldiers’ packs must be handy as much as possible as they had no enough time to prepare dry food and they had to move in a flexible way.

At that time, he was struck with the story about fruits his mother had told him.

As he was told that the region was abundant in jujube, he ordered the whole army to change the military provisions for jujube. He ensured that each soldier was rationed with jujubes as the food for over ten days by measuring out five jujubes for a meal.

At first, the soldiers, who were supplied with some handfuls of jujubes as the food, grumbled that Kang Kam Chan was getting silly in his old age.

But at last, they were struck with admiration at his wisdom as they kept up their spirits even though they took several jujubes for a meal.

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