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How to recommend a friend to a job

Ch'in Hsi recommended Pa Li Hsi to Duke Mu who, however, did not pay attention to it.


Then Ch'in Hsi went out of the front door, bowed down his head, and knocked it on the ground, so that it broke to pieces, and died.
This affected Duke Mu so deeply, that he took Po Li Hsi into his service. 
The meaning of this story is that a worthy in recommending a good man did not spare his own life, knocking his head on the ground, that it broke, and died, all with the object to further his friend.

Li Kuang Shoots Tiger

During the Spring and Autumn period, there was a remarkable archer, Hsiung Ch'u Tse of Ch'ü, he could shoot at an weeping willows leaf a hundred steps away, with a hundred shots he hit it a hundred times.

One night, he went back home from a feast, a bit drunk. In the dark he saw a stone lying on the ground, which he took for a crouching tiger. He grasped his bow, and shot at it. The arrow disappeared up to the feathers.

The next morning, he came back to the spot where he shot the tiger, intending to take back his trophy. To his surprise, there was no tiger there rather than a stone. Out of fright the arrow was shot with such a force, that it entered deep into the stone!

Some said that the archer was actually Yang Yu Chi of Ch'u State, others speak of Li Kuang, who was a general of Han dynasty. Instead of a tiger, some speak of a rhinoceros, anyway, both being fierce animals, it amounts to the same.

The Loyal Official of Wei

During Spring and Autumn period, there was a loyal official in Wei: — Hung Yen, who was sent abroad as envoy of Duke Ai of Wei. Before he returned, a monster had attacked the Wei, and killed the duke, and eaten his flesh, leaving only the liver.

When Hung Yen returned from his mission, he reported himself to the liver. Out of sorrow, that Duke Ai had died, and was eaten up, so that his liver had no resting-place, he took a knife, ripped up his stomach, took all its contents out, put the liver of Duke Ai in, and expired.

Tyrant King Chou Hsin of the Shang (Yin) dynasty

King Chou Hsin is said to be a drunkard, he passed the whole night drinking. Sediments lay about in mounds, and there was a lake of wine, which filled three thousand persons sucking liquor like cattle, and Chou was swimming in Wine Lake, stopping neither by day nor by night.

There is another tradition that Chou had made a forest by hanging up meat, and caused naked males and females to play a cat and mouse game, chasing each other in this forest.

King Chou Hsin was famous for his for gigantic strength. His strength was such, that he could twist iron, and straighten out a hook, pull out a beam, and replace it by a pillar.

Like the tyrant king of Hsia Chieh, King Chou's debauchery arose from a passionate attachment to the woman who became his concubine, by name Ta Chi, the beautiful daughter of the Chief of Su. Ta Chi added horrible inhumanity to the extravagance and disgraceful revelry. She invented many most horrible tortures, the heartlessly breaking a men's shin bones to s…

A Man of True Self-denying Purity?

Ch'ên Chung Tse belongs to an ancient and noble family of Ch'i. His elder brother Tai received from Ko a revenue of 10,000 chung, but he considered his brother's emolument to be unrighteous, and would not live on it, and in the same way he considered his brother's house to be unrighteous, and would not dwell in it. Avoiding his brother and leaving his mother, he went and dwelt in Mountain Wu-ling.

Living in Wu-ling, he himself builds a cottage,  plants the millet, and weaves sandals of hemp, and his wife twists hempen thread, to barter them.

He was so poor that in one occasion for three days was without food, till he could neither hear nor see. Over a well grew a plum tree, the fruit of which had been more than half-eaten by worms. He crawled to it, and tried to eat some of the fruit, when, after swallowing three mouthfuls, he recovered his sight and hearing.

One day afterwards, he returned to their house, when it happened that some one sent his brother a present of a…

A Poor Man's Beautiful Wife

Once upon a time, a poor Man named Shu Hsiang, who lived with her mother.

By luck or unlucky fate, he met a beautiful lady. But his mother would not allow him to marry her. Shu Hsiang felt very angry, and remonstrated his mother.

But his mother replied: " In the depths of mountains and in vast marshes dragons and snakes really grow, she is beautiful, but you are of a poor family, I am afraid, lest she give birth to a dragon or a snake, which would bring mishap upon you. "

Nevertheless, Shu Hsiang's mother then allowed her son to be married, and let the beautiful lady go to the chamber of her husband, and she begot a son, named Shu Hu. Owing to his beauty and hero-like strenghth, Shu Hu became a favourite of the King, but during an uprising, the people of the kingdom expelled their king, and Shu Hu was killed.

The moral of this story is, being an exceptional woman by her beauty, she would give birth to an extraordinary son, and it would be dangerous for an ordinary man li…

Chang Liang And The Yellow Stone Old Man

Chang Liang, Marquis of Liu, dealt a blow at Ch'in Shih Huang Ti with a club, but by mistake hit one of the chariots of his retinue. Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, infuriated, gave orders to search for Chang Liang everywhere, but he changed his name and concealed himself in Hsia-pei, where he had always leisure to stroll about at pleasure. Up the river Sse, there was an old man in coarse clothes, who came to Chang Liang's place. He had just lost one shoe down the river, therefore he said to Chang Liang, " Go down, and fetch me my shoe, my boy." — Chang Liang grew angry, and was going to give him a beating, but noticing, how strong the old man looked, be repressed bis feelings, and went down to fetch the shoe, which he offered him on his knees. The old man slipped it on his foot, and went away laughing. Chang Liang felt greatly excited.

When the old man had gone to about a Li's distance, he returned. "You can be taught, my boy," be said, "Five days hen…

The magical force of music

Duke Ling of Wei (533-499 B.C.) was proceeding to Chin. When he had arrived on the banks of the river Pu, he heard at night-time a new tune played on the guitar, which pleased him so well, that he ordered somebody to ask his attendants about it. They all reported that they had heard nothing. Then he called for the music-master Chüan, and told him saying, " There was some one playing a new melody, I gave orders to ask my followers about it, but they all stated that they had not heard anything. It is, as if a ghost made the music for me. Pray, listen to it and write it down for me." The music-master Chüan acquiesced, sat quietly down, played the guitar, and wrote down the tune. On the following morning he reported that he had got it, but still required some practice. He therefore asked for one night more to practise. Duke Ling granted this request. Chüan practised one more night, and on the next morning he had mastered it. They then went on to Chin.

Duke P'ing of Chin fea…

Turn a disaster into triumph

Good politics is just something that turn a disaster into triumph, some time this could be very amusing, looks like a practical joke, especially when dealing with superstitions.

Wên Wang of Chou was regarded as a sage, he was very filial son, and benevolent king. His father Wang Chi was buried at the foot of Mount Hua. The Luan river having undermined his tumulus, the front part of his coffin became visible. Wên Wang said, "How pleasing! Our old lord certainly wishes to see his officers and people once more, therefore he caused the Luan to bring his coffin to light." Upon this, he held a court, and all the people could view him for three days. Then he had him buried again.

That the tomb ruined by flood should be a very serious bad omen, but Wên Wang twisted and turn by creative interpretation this disaster into some good politics, he held court before the coffin in order to let the dead watch, so eliminated fears of bad luck among his people, and encouraged good administrat…

How to choose an heir

When Shih T'ai of Wei died, he had no rightful heir, but six illegitimate sons.

They divined, who would be the successor, and made out that bathing and the wearing of gems would afford an omen.

Five of the sons took a bath, and adorned themselves with precious stones, but Shih Ch'i Tse said, "Who, being in mourning for a parent, can bathe and wear gems?" Hence he did not bathe, nor wear any gems.

It was he who hit the omen, and became the successor.

Myths about Han Kao Tsu: the first emperor of the Han dynasty

The mother of Han Kao Tsu, dame Liu, reposed on the banks of a large lake. In a dream, she met with a spirit. At that time there was a tempest with thunder and lightning. In the darkness a dragon appeared on high. The son, of which she was delivered, had an excellent character, but was very fond of wine. He would buy wine on credit from Mrs. Wang and mother Wu. When he was drunk, he stopped, and lay down to sleep. Mrs. Wang and mother Wu then always saw some miraculous signs about him. Whenever he remained to drink wine, the price of the wine then sold was many times as much as usual.

Later on he walked into the lake, and cut a big snake into pieces with his hand. An old woman filled the roads with her wails, crying that the Red Emperor had killed her son. This miracle being very striking was much talked about.

Ch'in Skih Huang Ti used to say that in the south-east there was the spirit of a son of heaven. Therefore he travelled eastward in order to suppress it. This was Kao Tsu&…

The orphan of Chao

During the Spring and Autumn period (8th century B.C. - 5th century B.C.), in the state of Chin, the prime minister T'u An Ku out of hatred destroyed the family of Chao Tun, who was the general of Chin, the who family of Chao Tun, included his sons, other family members and servants of a total 300 people were killed, except his eldest son Chao So's widow, who was a daughter of the King of Chin, had sought refuge in the palace.

After the death of Chao So, his wife had a posthumous child. When T'u An Ku heard of it, he sought it in the Palace. The mother put it into her pantaloons, and swore the following oath: — " The whole Chao family will be lost, if the child cries, it will not be so, if it does not utter a sound." While being searched for, it did not cry at all. Then its escape could be effected, and its life be saved.

Chêng Ying was a faithful adherent of Chao So, and was a doctor. With the excuse of treating the princess, he hide the infant in his medical k…

The story of Po Yi and Shu Ch'i

Po Yi and Shu Ch'i were elder and younger sons of the ruler of Ku-chu. Their father wished to set up Shu Ch’i as his heir but, when he died, Shu Ch’i yielded in favor of his elder borther Po Yi. Po Yi replied that it had been their father’s wish that Shu Ch’i should inherit the throne and so he departed from the state. Shu Ch’i like wise, being unwilling to accept the rule, went away and the people of the state set up a middle brother as ruler. At this time Po Yi and Shu Ch’i heard that Ch’ang, the Chief of the West, was good at looking after old people, and they said, “Why not go and follow him?” But when they had gone they found that the Chief of the West was dead and his son, King Wu, had taken up the ancestral tablet of his father, whom he honored with the posthumous title of King Wen, and was marching east to attack the emperor of the Yin dynasty. Po Yi and Shu Ch’i clutched the reins of King Wu’s horse and reprimanded him, saying, “The mourning for your father not yet comple…

How a king trusts his minister

Duke Huan's famous minister.

Duke Huan of Ch'i 683-641 b.c.


Perhaps this nature appeared again in Duke Huan, who was wont to say, "Let Kuan Chung know." His attendants replied, "is it so easy to rule, if Kuan Chung is always the first and second word? " The duke rejoined, "Before I had secured the services of Kuan Chung, I was in the greatest difficulties, now, after I have got him, I find everything easy." When Duke Huan had taken Kuan Chung into his service, he left the affairs to him, entrusted him with the administration, and did not trouble any more about it.

Leech salad

King Hui of Ch'u, when eating salad, found a leech upon his plate, and forthwith swallowed it. He thereupon felt a pain in his stomach, and could eat nothing.

On his premier asking him, how he had got this disease, he replied: — "Eating salad, I found a leech, I thought that, if I scolded those responsible for it, but did not punish them, I would disregard the law, and not keep up my dignity. Therefore, I could not allow my subjects to get wind of the matter. Had I, on the other hand, reproved and chastised the defaulters, strict law would have required the death of all the cooks and butlers. To that I could not make up my mind. Fearing, lest my attendants should perceive the leech, 1 promptly swallowed it."

The premier rose from his seat, bowed twice, and congratulated the king, saying, " I have been told that Heaven is impartial, and that virtue alone is of any avail. You have benevolence and virtue, for which Heaven will reward you. Your sickness will do you no…

Fate and Destiny

A man predestinated at his birth for wealth and honour, though fleeing wealth and shunning honour, at length he cannot get rid of it.

"Old Duke Tan Fu" had three sons: — T'ai Po, Ch'ung Yung and Chi Li. T'ai Po was the eldest son, according to the customs he should be the heir-apparent, but his father "Old Duke" favoured the youngest son Chi Li and the son of Chi Li, Chang, who became the later Wên Wang of the Chou dynasty. When Chang was still in his swaddling clothes, there appeared portents indicative of his holiness. Therefore Tan Fu said: — "It is through Chang that my family will become illustrious." When T'ai Po heard of it, he retired to Wu, a barbarous area in southern China, in order to make room for Chi Li. T'ai Po tattooed himself, and cut his hair, mixed himself up with one of Southern barbarians. But he couldn't escaped his fate, he run away from one throne, but became king of the barbarians.


King Yi of Yüeh escaped…