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A story about the Yen Family

For over 300 years, the Yen family lived in Kang Wei (Shanghai) China. I visited the site of the Yen family homestead in 1984, and of the main complex, nothing remained, except a historical marker standing in a field of rubble, indicating that the Yen family used to live there. My father was able to recognize a few other odds and ends. He saw some carved stones that were part of a pagoda given to the Yen family by the Emperor (year unknown) incorporated into a doorway of an empty building having no roof. Apparently, the area has been rebuilt and torn down several times since my father left China in 1936. We contacted one villager and asked what is to become of this site, and he said that a school was slated to be built. We asked that he save the historical marker, and mount it on a school wall.

Regarding why the pagoda was built, my father remembers a story told to him by his father, that it was given to a member of the Yen family after her husband died because instead of remarrying, she devoted the rest of her life to raising her son and doing charitable work in her community. Another story, was that this pagoda leaned after it was built, and was going to topple over. However, this lady of the Yen family was able to fix it by sticking one of her finger's under the pagoda and sacrificing it.

Last updated 10 August 1995

Copyright © 1995 by Duen Hsi Yen, All rights reserved.


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