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With deer’s milk, Tan Zi supplied his parents

《二十四孝·鹿乳奉亲》:“周郯子,性至孝。父母年老,俱患双眼,思食鹿乳。郯子顺承亲意,乃衣鹿皮,去深山,入鹿群之中,取鹿乳以供亲。猎者见欲射之,郯子具以情告,乃免。”

In the time of the Chow dynasty lived Tan, who possessed a very filial disposition. His father and mother were aged, and both were afflicted with sore eyes, to cure which they desired to have some deer's milk. Tan concealed himself in the skin of a deer, and went deep into the forests. He closely imitated the cry, yew yew, of the fawns, watching for the tracks of the herd of the deer, hiding among the herds of deer, to obtain some of their milk for his parents. While in the forests the hunters saw him, and were about shooting at him with their arrows, when Tan disclosed to them his true character, and related the history of his family, with the reason for his conduct.



郯子(生卒年月不详),己姓,子爵,春秋时期郯国国君。

Tan Zi (Year of birth and death unknown), his surname was Yi (已姓), a Viscount, he was the king of the State of Tan in the of the Spring and Autumn Period. Viscount of Tan was the descendant of Emperor Shaohao, whose surname was Yi.

《春秋》:鲁昭公17年,秋,郯子來朝。

The Viscount of Tan was famous not only because he was filial son, but also because Confucius visited Tan Tzu and learned from him. In Seventeenth year of Duke Zhao of Lu, in autumn, the viscount of Tan came to the court of Lu.

《佐传》:秋,郯子來朝,公與之宴。昭子問焉,曰:“少皞氏鳥名官.何故也?”郯子曰:“吾祖也,我知之。昔者黃帝氏以雲紀,故為雲師而雲名;炎帝氏以火紀,故為火師而火名;共工氏以水紀,故為水師而水名;大皞氏以龍紀;故為龍師而龍名;我高祖少皞,摯之立也,鳳鳥適至,故紀於鳥,為鳥師而鳥名。鳳鳥氏歷正也,玄鳥氏司分者也,伯趙氏司至者也。青鳥氏司啟者也,丹鳥氏司閉者也。祝鳩氏司徒也,鴡鳩氏司馬也,鳲鳩氏司空也,鹰鳩氏司寇也,鶻鳩氏司事也。五鳩,鳩民者也。五雉為五工正,利器用,正度量,夷民者也。九扈為九農正,扈民無淫者也。自顓頊以來,不能紀遠,乃紀於近,為民師而命以民事,則不能故也。

仲尼聞之,見於郯子而學之。既而告人曰:“吾聞之,‘天子失官,學在四夷’。猶信。”

'When the viscount of Tan came to our court, the duke feasted with him, and Chao-Tzu asked what was the reason that Shaohao named his officers after birds. The viscount replied, "He was my ancestor, and I know [all about] it. Before him, Huangdi came to his rule with [the omen of] a cloud, and therefore he had cloud officers, naming them after clouds; Yandi (Shennong) came to his with the [omen of] fire, and therefore he had fire officers, naming them after fire; Gonggong came to his with [the omen of] water, and therefore he had water officers, naming them after water; Taihao (Fuxi) came to his with [the omen of ] a dragon, and therefore he had dragon officers, naming them after dragons. When my ancestor Shaohao Zhi (挚) succeeded to the kingdom, there appeared at that time a phoenix, and therefore he arranged his government under the nomenclature of birds, making bird officers, and naming them after birds. There were so and so Phoenix-bird, minister of the calendar; so and so Dark-bird (The swallow), master of the equinoxes; so and so Bozhao (The shrike), master of the solstices; so so and so Greenbird (A kind of sparrow), master of the beginning [of spring and autumn]; and so and so Carnation-bird, (The golden pheasant), master of the close [of spring and autumn];—so and so Zhujiu (Dove), minister of Instruction; so and so Jujiu, minister of War; so and so Shijiu, minister of Works; so and so Shuangjiu, minister of Crime; so and so Gujiu, minister of affairs. These five Jiu (Five Kind of Doves) kept the people collected together. The five Zhi (Pheasants) presided over the five classes of mechanics;—they saw to the provision of implements and utensils, and to the correctness of the measures of length and capacity, keeping things equal among the people. The nine Hu were the ministers of the nine departments of husbandry, and kept the people from becoming dissolute. After the time of Zhuanxu [who came after Shaohao], they were not able to arrange their offices by [such symbols coming] from afar, and did so by what was near at hand. Their officers being over the people, they named them from the business of the people, not being able to do otherwise."

'Zhongni having heard of this, he had an interview with the viscount of Tan, and learned from him. Afterward he said to people, " I have heard that, when the officers of the son of Heaven are not properly arranged, we may learn from the wild tribes all round about. The remark seems to be true."

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