A Good Beating
[During the time when Li Hui was the Prefect of Yongzhou] two men, one bearing a load of salt and the other firewood, set down their burdens and took a rest together in the shade of a tree. When they rose to leave they began to quarrel over a piece of sheepskin, each contending that it was the shoulder pad he had been using. Li (as the judge in this case) sent the two men away and turned to the Registrar o f the Prefecture.
“Do you think this sheepskin will tell us the identity of its owner if we give it a beating?”
None of his subordinates ventured a reply. Li gave orders for the sheepskin to be put on a mat. When it was beaten with a pole, a trace of salt was found.
“Now we have the truth.”
The two men were summoned to look at the result. The bearer of firewood immediately knelt and admitted his guilt.