Once, there was a poor widow who lived in a large city. She had a daughter. Her name was Bao Bei which means “Precious One”. The woman was ugly looking and her face was scarred. Her husband died when their child was still a baby. She worked very hard to support herself and the child.
One day, while she was cleaning the house, getting ready for the Chinese New Year. She saw an old photograph. She held it up in her hand, and looked at it for a long time. Then her daughter, Bao Bei walked into the house. She greeted her mother rudely.
“Mommy, I’m home. I’m hungry. Is the food ready?” Her mother did not respond because she was thinking of her past. Not getting an answer from her mother, Bao Bei called out again. With no answer from her mother, Bao Bei called out again. “Mother, what are you doing there?” Bao Bei went near her. She saw her mother holding a photograph of a beautiful lady in one hand.
“Mother”, she asked. “Who is that lady? She’s so beautiful. Mother, I would be proud of you only if you were just as pretty as this woman. But…… you’re so ugly. Look at the wrinkles and scars on your face. I would never want anyone to know that you are my mother. Nor would I want to be seen. All of my friends think that my mother is dead and that you are my nanny.
On hearing this, her mother was very sad and hurt. Tears rolled down her cheeks. My child, all these years I’ve worked very hard to bring you up and to give you a good education. Is this how you repay me? Let me tell you a story.
Many years ago, there is a big fire. It burnt down our house. The fire started in the early hours of the morning when everyone was sound asleep. Suddenly, I was awakened by the shouts of “Fire! Fire! ” I quickly dashed through the fierce flame, carried you in my arms and ran out of the house. Your father was unfortunate. He was burnt to death. In the fire, we lost everything. You were the only precious belonging that I had saved. My dear Bao Bei, don’t you know that the beautiful lady in the picture is I? In order to save you from the fire, these ugly scars have remained with me till this day.
After hearing this, Bao Bei felt ashamed of herself. She said, “Oh, mother, I’m so sorry. Will you please forgive me? From this day forth, I shall love and obey you. I’ll never make you angry or look down upon you again. You are my mother. You have sacrificed so much to save me. Friends, this story tells us that a mother’s love surpasses all.