He stepped up to one of them and asked him if his name was not Tzu-hua. "It is," was the reply; whereupon Ch'un-yü, taking him by the hands, recalled to him their old friendship, and questioned him as to how he had found his way to this spot. He then proceeded to ask him if Chou-pien was also here.
Once settled in the place, Ch'un-yü set himself to become thoroughly acquainted with the manners and customs of the people, and to relieve distress. To Chou-pien and Tzu-hua he confided all questions of administration, and in the course of twenty years a great improvement was to be noticed in the affairs of the province.
The people showed their appreciation by erecting a monument to his honour, while the King conferred upon him an estate and the dignity of a title, and in recognition of their services promoted Chou-pien and Tzu-hua to very high posts. Ch'un-yü's children also shared their father's rewards; the two sons were given office, while the two daughters were betrothed to members of the royal family.
A few days later Ch'un-yü's wife also fell ill and died, whereupon he begged permission to resign his post and return to Court with his wife's remains. This request was granted, and Tzu-hua was appointed in his stead.
He sent a messenger to make inquiries about them, and the news he brought back was that Chou-pien was dead and Tzu-hua lying ill. The fleeting nature of man's existence revealed itself to him as he recalled the greatness of these two men in the ant-world. From that day he became a reformed man; drink and dissipation were put aside.
They replaced everything as they had found it; but that night a storm of wind and rain came, and next morning not a vestige of the ants was to be seen. They had all disappeared, and here was the fulfilment of the warning in the dream, that the kingdom would be swept away. Ch'un-yü Regenerate At this time Ch'un-yü had not seen Chou-pien and Tzu-hua for some ten days.
He was supplied with a splendid outfit, and farewell entertainments were given in his honour. Before leaving he acknowledged to the King that he had no great confidence in his own powers, and suggested that he should be allowed to take with him Chou-pien and Tzu-hua as commissioners of justice and finance. The King gave his consent, and issued the necessary instructions.