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Showing posts from September, 2010

I will not see you again till I have reached the yellow spring

The earl of Zheng overcame Duan in Yan

'Duke Wu of Zheng had married a daughter of the House of Shen, called Wu Jiang, who bore duke Zhuang and his brother Duan of Gong. Duke Zhuang was born breech, which frightened the lady so that she named him Wusheng, and hated him, while she loved Duan, and wished him to be declared his father's heir. Often did she ask this of duke Wu, but he refused it. When duke Zhuang came to the earldom, she begged him to confer on Duan the city of Zhi. "It is too dangerous a place," was the reply. "The Younger of Guo died there; but in regard to any other place, you may command me." She then requested Jing; and there Duan took up his residence, and came to be styled Taishu (the Great Younger) of Jing city. Zhong of Zhai said to the duke, "Any metropolitan city, whose wall is more than 3,000 cubits round, is dangerous to the State. According to the regulations of the former kings, such a city of the 1st order can have its wall…

The Five Brothers Li

By the yellow waters of the great river Yangtze River lived a good woman who had five sons, the five brothers Li. They were called Li the First, Li the Second, Li the Third, Li the Fourth, and Li the Fifth. These brothers looked so much alike that their mother could hardly tell them apart, yet each had a special gift that was not shared by the others. Li the First could drink the whole sea at a gulp and spout it forth again in a gushing torrent. Li the Second could not be burnt by fire. Li the Third could make his legs grow as long as he wanted. Li the Fourth had a body as hard as steel. And the youngest of the brothers, Li the Fifth, understood the languages of all the animals, birds, and fishes as well as he understood his own Chinese mother-tongue.

The brothers were the best of friends. Li the First caught fishes, Li the Second stoked the fire with his hands, Li the Third and Li the Fourth worked in the fields, while Li the Fifth looked after the sheep and the geese.

One day a high…

Where the will is not diverted from its object, the spirit is concentrated

When Kung-nî was on his way to Khû, as he issued from a forest, he saw a hunchback receiving cicadas (on the point of a rod), as if he were picking them up with his hand. 'You are clever!' said he to the man. 'Is there any method in it?'

The hunchback replied, 'There is. For five or six months, I practised with two pellets, till they never fell down, and then I only failed with a small fraction of the cicadas (which I tried to catch). Having succeeded in the same way with three (pellets), I missed only one cicada in ten. Having succeeded with five, I caught the cicadas as if I were gathering them. My body is to me no more than the stump of a broken trunk, and my shoulder no more than the branch of a rotten tree. Great as heaven and earth are, and multitudinous as things are, I take no notice of them, but only of the wings of my cicadas; neither turning nor inclining to one side. I would not for them all exchange the wings of my cicadas;--how should I not succeed in…

Learned Men in Lû

At an interview of Kwang-dze with duke Âi of Lû, the duke said, 'There are many of the Learned class in Lû; but few of them can be compared with you, Sir.'

Kwang-dze replied, 'There are few Learned men in Lû.'

 'Everywhere in Lû,' rejoined the duke, 'you see men wearing the dress of the Learned;--how can you say that they are few?'

'I have heard,' said Kwang-dze, 'that those of them who wear round caps know the times of heaven; that those who wear square shoes know the contour of the ground; and that those who saunter about with semicircular stones at their girdle-pendents settle matters in dispute as they come before them. But superior men who are possessed of such knowledge will not be found wearing the dress, and it does not follow that those who wear the dress possess the knowledge. If your Grace think otherwise, why not issue a notification through the state, that it shall be a capital offence to wear the dress without possessing the kn…