The express postman in the Bureau of Salt Transport was a man by the name of Ma Jixian. In the course of his employment he had become quite wealthy, so he purchased for his son, Huanzhang, a position as a minor official.
Now the son himself became a very talented bureaucrat, and he soon grew even wealthier than his father. It wasn't long before the Ma family were millionaires.
Years passed and Jixian, now an old man, bought a concubine whose surname was also Ma. The two of them developed a deep and trusting bond. Jixian was so appreciative of his concubine's efforts that he said to her one day, in reference to his accumulated wealth of several thousand caddies of gold, "You have been such a loyal and attentive assistant in my old age that I have decided to leave you all my property when I die. I don't mind whether you stay on with my family or remarry after my death. It is up to you."
Five or six years later Ma Jixian became gravely ill and called his son to his side. "This woman has been a devoted concubine. I want all my savings passed to her when I die."
However, after his father's death Huanzhang did nothing of the sort.
He and his uncle, Mr. Wu, a former prefect in Quanzhou, plotted to ensure that the money stayed with them.
Huanzhang explained his problem to Wu, concluding, "Who would have thought that my father would want to leave all his wealth to this woman? What a dreadful waste!"
"This shouldn't be too difficult to sort out. I'll come and help you chase her out of the house," Wu responded.
Several days later Huanzhang told the concubine to leave the house where she and Jixian had lived, using the excuse that she should sit with the coffin and wait until the soul had left the body. As soon as she was out of the house, Huanzhang and his wife transferred all the dead