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Judge Shih Shê

King Chao of Ch’u had an officer named Shih Shê, who was characterized by his impartiality and love of the right, and the king made him a judge. At this time someone killed a man on the highway. When Shih Shê went in pursuit of him, it turned out to be his father.

He returned to the court and said, "The person who killed the man was my father. To sacrifice one's father to perfect one's administration is not filial; not to put in operation the laws of one's prince is not loyal. My duty is to submit to punishment for having overlooked his crime and disregarded the law." He prostrated himself before the axe and execution block saying, "My life is in your hands."
The prince said, "You pursued him without catching him; how can there be any blame? May you go on with your work."

Shih Shê said, "Not so. Not to be partial to one's father is not filial; not to carry out the laws of one's prince is not loyal. To go on living when guilty of a crime deserving death is not honest. If Your Highness wishes to grant a pardon, it is the grace of a superior; but I cannot neglect the laws: such is the duty (i) of an inferior."

Whereupon he would not leave the axe and execution block, but cutting his throat, died in the court.
When the superior man hears of this, he says, "Pure and law-abiding—such was Master Shih."
Confucius said, "The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this."

The Ode says,
That officer
In the country will ever hold to the right.

Master Shih is an example of this.

楚昭王有士曰石奢,其为人也,公而好直,王使为理。于是道有杀人者,石奢追之,则父也,还返于廷,曰:“杀人者,臣之父也。以父成政,非孝也;不行君法,非忠也;弛罪废法,而伏其辜,臣之所守也。”遂伏斧鑕,曰:“命在君。”君曰:“追而不及,庸有罪乎?子其治事矣。”石奢曰:“不然。不私其父,非孝也;不行君法、非忠也;以死罪生、不廉也。君欲赦之,上之惠也;臣不能失法,下之义也。”遂不去鈇鑕,刎颈而死乎廷。君子闻之曰:“贞夫法哉!石先生乎!”孔子曰:“子为父隐,父为子隐,直在其中矣。”《诗》曰:“彼已之子,邦之司直。”石先生之谓也。

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