Life was hard for Confucius and his mother, who struggled to grow vegetables on a small plot of land. To survive, he helped by working as a common laborer, and his mother spent hours making sure Confucius had an education so he might have a better future.
Ugly, awkward and shy, Confucius had few friends, so he did not experience a normal childhood. By the time he was a teen, he had read the great classics of Chinese civilization and discovered that learning never stops.
Then his mother died. The grief almost destroyed him, because she had been the only person who loved him. By the time he buried her near his father’s grave, he had lived through hardships that would break most men. Instead, he turned these survival lessons into strengths. With his mother gone, he realized that a family’s love was greater than gold.
Confucius was a poor, ugly giant—an illegitimate child with no family connections. His only advantage was his extraordinary mind, but fate was going to smile on him.
He lived in Chufu, the capital of the Duchy of Lu. One of three powerful warlords of Lu recognized his talent and gave him an important job. At 19, he married, but no one knows who she was. They had a son followed by other children.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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