Skip to main content

Three people saying so produces the tiger


During the Warring states period (453 - 221 BC), it was a common practice to exchange crown princes as hostages. This practice ensured that the various kings would honor their agreements.

The king of Wei's minister, Pang Cong, and the crown prince (the heir apparent to the king of Wei) were to become hostages at Handan.

Before leaving, he asked the king of Wei, "Now if one person said that there was a tiger in the market, would your majesty believe it?"
The king said, "No."

Then, Pang Cong said, "If two people said that there was a tiger in the market, would your majesty believe it?"

The king responded, "I would be suspicious about it."

Finally, Pang Cong asked, "If three people said that there was a tiger in the market, would your majesty believe it?"

The king replied, "I would believe it."

Pang Cong said, "Whereas it is clear that there is no tiger in the market, yet three people saying so produces the tiger. Now then, Handan is further away from Daliang (the capital of the state of Wei) than the market, and the number of people that will slander me will be more than three. I hope that your majesty is able to see that!"

The king said, "I already know that without you having to tell me."

Thus, he bid the king farewell, but the slander had already started.

Later on, the crown prince was released, but Pang Cong was not granted an audience with the king of Wei.

In John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series, book 2, the Burning Bridge, he quoted an old Celtic saying through Halt, the Ranger's mouth: "One man may be deceit. Two can be conspiracy. Three is the number I trust." I don't know if this has been made up by john or come out of REAL Celtic saying, but obviously the wisdom of human beings are similiar, no matter how far they are separated, Ancient China in far east and Old Celtic in far west.

(Source: Wiktionary translation)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was