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Showing posts from May, 2010
Lî Kî was a daughter of the border Warden of Ai. When (the ruler of) the state of Zin first got possession of her, she wept till the tears wetted all the front of her dress. But when she came to the place of the king, shared with him his luxurious couch, and ate his grain-and-grass-fed meat, then she regretted that she had wept.

Lie Zi Was Frightened by Soup Shops in the State of Qi

Lieh Yü-khâu had started to go to Khî, but came back when he was half-way to it. He met Po-hwän Wû-zän, who said, 'Why have you come back?' His reply was, 'I was frightened.' 'What frightened you?' 'I went into ten soup-shops to get a meal. and in five of them the soup was set before me before I had paid for it.' 'But what was there in that to frighten you?' Lieh-dze said, 'Vendors of soup supply their commodity simply as a matter of business, and however much they may dispose of, their profit is but little, and their power is but slight; and yet they treated me as I have said:--how much more would the lord of ten thousand chariots do so! His body burdened with the cares of his kingdom, and his knowledge overtasked by its affairs, he would entrust those affairs to me, and exact from me the successful conduct of its government. It was this which frightened me.' Po-hwän Wû-zän replied, 'Admirable perspicacity! But if you carry yourself…

A man who was frightened at his shadow and disliked to see his footsteps

There was a man who was frightened at his shadow and disliked to see his footsteps, so that he ran to escape from them. But the more frequently he lifted his feet, the more numerous his footprints were; and however fast he ran, his shadow did not leave him. He thought he was going too slow, and ran on with all his speed without stopping, till his strength was exhausted and he died. He did not know that, if he had stayed in a shady place, his shadow would have disappeared, and that if he had remained still, he would have lost his footprints:--his stupidity was excessive!

Three moves of its Capital of the Zhou dynasty

Zhou's ancestor could be traced to Houji, the father of agriculture.

Legend said that Houji was born after his mother stepped onto the footprints of a giant and that Houji, being deserted to the moutains and lakes by his mother, was taken care of by beasts and birds.

Another eight generations or three hundred years would be Zhou's founder, Gugong (aka Tanfu). When Tanfu was dwelling in Bin, the wild tribes of the North attacked him. He tried to serve them with skins and silks, but they were not satisfied. He tried to serve them with dogs and horses, but they were not satisfied, and then with pearls and jade, but they were not satisfied. What they sought was his territory. Tanfu said to his people, 'To dwell with the elder brother and cause the younger brother to be killed, or with the father and cause the son to be killed,--this is what I cannot bear to do. Make an effort, my children, to remain here. What difference is there between being my subjects, or the subjects of …

A white tortoise

The ruler Yüan of Sung once dreamt at midnight that a man with dishevelled hair peeped in on him at a side door and said, 'I was coming from the abyss of commissioned by the Clear Kiang to go to the place of the Earl of the Ho; but the fisherman Yü Zü has caught me.' When the ruler Yüan awoke, he caused a diviner to divine the meaning of the dream, and was told, 'This is a marvellous tortoise.' The ruler asked if among the fishermen there was one called Yü Zü, and being told by his attendants that there was, he gave orders that he should be summoned to court. Accordingly the man next day appeared at court, and the ruler said, 'What have you caught lately in fishing?' The reply was, 'I have caught in my net a white tortoise, sieve-like, and five cubits round.' 'Present the prodigy here,' said the ruler; and, when it came, once and again he wished to kill it, once and again he wished to keep it alive. Doubting in his mind what to do, he had recour…

Whirl his axe so as to produce a wind

On the top of the nose of that man of Ying there is a little bit of mud like a fly's wing, He sent for the artisan Shih to cut it away. Shih whirled his axe so as to produce a wind, which immediately carried off the mud entirely, leaving the nose uninjured, and the (statue of) the man of Ying' standing undisturbed.

The ruler Yüan of Sung heard of the feat, called the artisan Shih, and said to him, 'Try and do the same thing on me.' The artisan said, 'Your servant has been able to trim things in that way, but the material on which I have worked has been dead for a long time.'

(运斤成风, Yun Jin Cheng Feng)

The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the sparrow behind

螳螂捕蟬, 麻雀在后 táng láng bǔ chán má què zài hòu

The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind.

This story is excerpted from the Writings of Chuang-Tzu ( Kwang dze in James Legge’s transcribe system), or Zhuang zi (in modern Chinese Pīnyīn), name Zhōu (or Kâu in James Legges’s transcribe system).

This idiom when quoted in modern Chinese writing, a sparrow ( má què) is used instead of oriole, but in normal translation (as in a dictionary) an oriole is used. Oriole is mostly tropical songbird, the male is usually bright orange and black; or American songbird, male is black and orange or yellow.

In this story Chuang Tzu just say a strange bird with huge eyes from the south, its wings were seven cubits in width. The bird has large eyes but failed to see Chuang tzu approaching who was trying to shoot it with the cross-bow, since all the bird’s attention were on its prey, i.e., the mantis and cicada. This scenario startled and awakened Chuang tzu, because he wasn’t aware the fores…