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Giant millet grows in King Tang’s courtyard

During the Yin dynasty, a ku (rice, millet) started to grow in T’ang's courtyard. In three days it had become as large around as a man could embrace. T’ang inquired of I-yin, "What is this thing?"
I-yin answered, "It is a ku tree."

T'ang asked, "Why does it grow here?"

I-yin said, "The ku is a wild plant that grows in marshes. That it is now growing in Your Majesty's courtyard is not very auspicious."

T'ang said, "What is to be done?"

I-yin said, "I have heard that evil omens come before disaster, and auspicious signs precede good fortune. If on observing an evil omen, one practices good acts, the disaster will not materialize; if on seeing an auspicious sign, one does not perform good acts, the good fortune will not come."
T'ang thereupon fasted and lived quietly, rising early of a morning and retiring late at night. He mourned the dead and made polite inquiries after those who were ill. He pardoned crimes and gave alms to the poor. After seven days the ku died. The predicted misfortune never appeared, and the state prospered. The Ode says,

Revere the majesty of Heaven,

Thus to preserve its favor.



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