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King Chuang of Ch’u took to his bed with illness

King Chuang of Ch’u took to his bed with illness. The oracle read, "The River is the evil influence."
The Great Officers said, "We beg you to make use of sacrificial animals."

King Chuang said, "Stop! In antiquity, according to the sacrifices instituted by the saintly kings, a ruler did not go beyond those within his own borders in sacrificing to the spirits of hills and streams. The Sui, Chang, Chiang, and Han are the rivers Ch’u sacrifices to. Though I am devoid of virtue, it is not the River I have transgressed against." He never did perform the sacrifice, and in three days his disease was cured.

Confucius heard of this and said, "It was right that King Chuang of Ch’u should be overlord. He kept within limits and held to his duties, reflecting within himself and acting consistently. Was it not indeed fitting he should be overlord?" The Ode says,

Ah! Ah! He keeps within his boundaries.

King Chuang is an example of this.

楚庄王寝疾,卜之,曰:“河为崇。”大夫曰:“请用牲。”庄王曰:“止。古者、圣王制祭不过望,濉漳江汉,楚之望也,寡人虽不德,河非所获罪也。”遂不祭,三日而疾有瘳。孔子闻之,曰:“楚庄王之霸,其有方矣,制节守职,反身不贰,其霸不亦宜乎!”《诗》曰:“嗟嗟保介!”庄王之谓也。

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