Make the thief eat oysters

Once upon a time in a southern province of China, a village hired a teacher to conduct lessons for the children. It was the custom to provide lodgings for the teacher, so the villagers made arrangements such that the teacher would stay in each household for a week until his contract ended.


On the first day of his arrival, the first household prepared oysters for the teacher. It was the practice of that village to serve oysters to VIPs. The teacher was very appreciative. The master was delighted to see the teacher eating those oysters happily, so he prepared oysters again on the second day. The teacher was glad to eat those oysters again, so the master prepared oysters again on the third day. By the third day, the teacher was getting sick of oysters but it would be rude for him to voice it out or reject the oysters. Thinking that the teacher was enjoying the oysters, the master gave instructions to serve the teacher with oysters everyday. And not wanting to be rude the teacher ate what he was served. At last the week was over and the teacher went to stay with another household. Wanting to make the teacher happy, the second household asked the first household what the teacher liked to eat. The answer was oysters. So the second household also prepared oysters for the teacher everyday and the teacher continued to eat what he was served. This was repeated in the subsequent households that hosted the teacher.


One day, the villagers caught a thief and were discussing the type of punishment for this thief. Suddenly a voice shouted, “Make the thief eat oysters!” Everyone turned their heads and saw the voice came from the teacher. It was then they realized that their good intentions of serving the teacher with oysters everyday had become a torture or punishment to the teacher.



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