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Chieh-yü, the madman of Ch’u

Chieh-yü, the madman of Ch’u, tilled the fields with his own hands for food. One day his wife had gone to the market and had not yet returned. The King of Ch’u sent a messenger with a present of one hundred i of gold to his gate. The messenger said, "The great king has sent me to offer one hundred i of gold and wishes to request you, sir, to administer Huai-nan."

Chieh-yü laughed but would not assent. The messenger in the end left without a definite answer from him.

When Chieh-yü's wife came back from the market, she said, "When you were young, you practiced your principles (i); why do you abandon them as you grow older? How is it that the carriage tracks outside the gate are so deep?"

Chieh-yü said, "Today the king sent a messenger to offer me one hundred i of gold, wishing to have me administer Huai-nan."

His wife said, "You did not consent?"

He said, "I did not!"

His wife said, "When the prince wants to employ you, not to obey is disloyal, while to obey is to abandon your principles (i). It is best we go away."

Whereupon the husband shouldered the boilers and pots, and the wife carried the loom on her head. They changed their names so that no one knew where they went.

The Lun yü says, "seeing the countenance, she instantly rises. She flies round, and by and by settles." Chieh-yü's wife was like this.

The Ode says,

We will leave you,
And go to that happy land;
Go to that happy land,

There we shall find our place.

楚狂接舆躬耕以食。其妻之市,未返,楚王使使者赉金百镒,造门曰:“大王使臣奉金百镒,愿请先生治河南。”接舆笑而不应,使者遂不得辞而去。妻从市而来曰:“先生少而为义,岂将老而遗之哉!门外车轶,何其深也!”接舆曰:“今者、王使使者赉金百镒,欲使我治河南。”其妻曰:“岂许之乎?”曰:“未也。”妻曰:“君使不从,非忠也;从之,是遗义也。不如去之。”乃夫负釜甑,妻戴经器,变易姓字,莫知其所之。《论语》曰:“色斯举矣,翔而后集。”接舆之妻是也。《诗》曰:“逝将去汝,适彼乐土;乐土乐土,爰得我所。”

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