Skip to main content

Confucius was traveling south on his way to Ch’u

Confucius was traveling south on his way to Ch’u when he came to the declivity of A-ku, where a maiden who wore a semi-circle of jade at her belt was washing clothes. Confucius said, "No doubt yonder woman can be approached?" He drew out a cup and handed it to Tzŭ-kung saying, "Address her politely, that we may see what she says."

Tzŭ-kung said to the woman, "I, a humble northerner on my way south to Ch’u, find the weather hot. Ardently I think of you; I wish to beg a drink to demonstrate my feelings." The woman replied, "This declivity of A-ku [holds] a winding stream, whose water is alternately clear and turbid as it flows on its way to the sea. If you wish to drink, then drink. Why ask a woman?" She took Tzŭ-kung's cup, went to the stream and dipped it in against the current; then she threw out the water with a splash and dipped it in again with a splash, following the current, and filled it to overflowing. Kneeling she placed it on the sand and said, "According to etiquette (li) it must not be handed over directly."
Tzŭ-kung reported this, and Confucius said, "I knew it." Drawing out a lute, he removed its pegs and handed it to Tzŭ-kung saying, "Address her politely, that we may see what she says."

Tzŭ-kung said, "The words you have just spoken are soothing as a pure breeze, not contradicting what I said; they have harmonized and made easy my mind. Here is a lute without pegs; I would like you to tune it for me. The woman replied, "I am a rustic person, uncultivated and ignorant. Not knowing the five tones, how could I tune your lute?"

Tzŭ-kung reported this, and Confucius said, "I knew it." He drew out five liang of hemp, which he handed to Tzŭ-kung, saying, "Address her politely, that we may see what she says."

Tzŭ-kung said, "I am a man from a northern rustic town on my way south to Ch’u. Here I have five liang of hemp. Though I dare not consider it worthy of yourself, I shall venture to place it by the bank of the stream."

The woman replied, "Your behaviour is wrong, like that of a cunning man. You divide up property and casting it away on a rustic person. I am too young— how would I dare receive it from you? If you do not take it away immediately, there will be a violent man coming after you." The Ode says,

In the south rise the trees without branches,
Affording no shelter.
By the Han are girls rambling about,
But it is vain to solicit them.

This is illustrated in the above [story].

孔子南游,适楚,至于阿谷之隧,有处子佩瑱而浣者。孔子曰:“彼妇人其可与言矣乎!”抽觞以授子贡,曰:“善为之辞,以观其语。”子贡曰:“吾、北鄙之人也,将南之楚,逢天之暑,思心潭潭,愿乞一饮,以表我心。”妇人对曰:“阿谷之隧,隐曲之泛,其水载清载浊,流而趋海,欲饮则饮,何问妇人乎?”受子贡觞,迎流而挹之,奂然而弃之,促流而挹之,奂然而溢之,坐、置之沙上,曰:“礼固不亲受。”子贡以告。孔子曰:“丘知之矣。”抽琴去其轸,以授子贡,曰:“善为之辞,以观其语。”子贡曰:“向子之言,穆如清风,不悖我语,和畅我心。于此有琴而无轸,愿借子以调其音。”妇人对曰:“吾,野鄙之人也,僻陋而无心,五音不知,安能调琴。”子贡以告。孔子曰:“丘知之矣。”抽絺紘五两,以授子贡,曰:“善为之辞,以观其语。”子贡曰:“吾、北鄙之人也,将南之楚。于此有絺紘五两,吾不敢以当子身,敢置之水浦。”妇人对曰:“客之行,差迟乖人,分其资财,弃之野鄙。吾年甚少,何敢受子,子不早去,今窃有狂夫守之者矣。”《诗》曰:“南有乔木,不可休思。汉有游女,不可求思。”此之谓也。

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 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

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