Hello! This is my English practice. Could someone please proofread my writing, which is based on a Chinese story? Many thanks!
The Gentleman on the Beam
Once upon a time, in China there was an honest and learned scholar named Chen Si, who was revered by his fellow townsmen. Mr. Chen was very strict with himself and his children as well. With tactful skill, he would often take the opportunity to teach them how to do things properly.
One year, a big flood occurred, and many villages and fertile lands were deluged. Thousands of people lost their houses, and legions of them had to flee from their homes due to the resulting famine. Therefore, many cases of burglaries happened.
One night, a burglar sneaked into Mr. Chen’s house and rummaged through a room looking for valuable things. Suddenly he heard someone was coughing. “Damn, someone is coming," the burglar thought. He quickly climbed up a pillar and hid himself on a big beam while holding his breath.
Mr. Chen stepped into the room with a lantern in his hand, looking for something. He caught a glimpse of a bit of clothing on the beam. Mr. Chen was aware that someone had broken into his house. Instead of being in a panic or trying to catch the man, he assembled all his children within the room, and then said, ”My children, honesty is the fundamental morality people should observe. In any circumances, we should always straighten up and fly right but not abandon ourselves to evil. No one is born a bad egg. Some people fail to behave themselves well and grow into depraved habits, such as the gentleman who is on the beam of our house now. We shouldn’t be driven by poverty and lose our morality any time.”
After listening to Mr. Chen’s teachings, the burglar was taken aback that Mr Chen had detected him. Meanwhile he was moved by the teacher's words. The burglar felt ashamed of himself. Coming down from the beam, he bowed to Mr Chen and said sincerely, “ Sir, You taught me a good lesson. I have realised I am wrong. Please forgive me. I’d like to correct myself from now on.”
Mr. Chen said amiably, “ You probably did this just out of poverty. It is good that you have realised this wrongdoing and want to correct it.” And then, he asked his family to give him some money and let him go. The burglar was very grateful for his kindness.
This story soon spread, and burglary hardly reared it head near that neck of the woods for a long time. And in China, the phrase of "the gentleman on the beam" has become the euphemism for a burgler ever since.