Skip to main content

Marquis Wên of Wei wished to appoint a prime minister

Marquis Wên of Wei wished to appoint a prime minister. Summoning Li K’o, he inquired saying, "I wish to appoint a prime minister, and it is to be either Chai Huang, or Wei Ch’êng-tzŭ. I wish to take your advice in this matter."

Li K’o, withdrawing from the mat, declined, saying, "I have heard that a person of mean rank does not dispose of one who is of honourable rank, nor does a stranger come between relatives. I dwell outside the palace, and so dare not accept your command."

Marquis Wên said, "Sir, feel yourself free to manage this affair."

Li K’o said, "Now if you would investigate a man, when he is living at home, see what he loves; when he is rich, see what he gives away; when he is successful, see whom he recommends; when he is in extremity, see what he will not do; when he is poor, see what he will not take. These five situations suffice for an investigation."

Marquis Wên said, "You may go home, sir. My prime minister has been decided upon."

Li K’o went out and met Chai Huang, who said, "Today I hear the prince summoned you to advise about a prime minister. Who is it to be?"

Li K’o said, "It will be Wei Ch’êng-tzŭ."

Chai Huang, taken aback, coloured up and said, "How am I inferior to Wei Ch’êng-tzŭ? The governor of Hsi-ho was put forward by me. When the Prince was worried by the district of Yeh, I put in Hsi-mên Pao. When the Prince wished to attack Chung-shan, I brought forward Yo Yang. After Chung-shan had been captured and there was no governor for the district, I got you the appointment. When our Prince wished to appoint a tutor for the Heir Apparent, I got the place for Chao Ts’ang-t’ang. All of these men were perfectly deserving and served faithfully. How am I inferior to Wei Ch’êng-tzŭ?"
Li K’o said, "When you mentioned me to your Prince, surely it could not have been with the idea of using the connection to seek high office? Our Prince asked me about the appointment of a prime minister, saying, ‘It is to be either Ch’êng or Huang, one of the two. How about it?' And I replied, ‘If Your Highness is undecided, it is because he has not made a careful examination of the men. When they are living at home, see what they love; when they are rich, see what they give away, when they are successful, see whom they recommend; when they are in extremity, see what they will not do; when they are poor, see what they will not take. These five determine it; what is the use of waiting for advice from me?' This is how I know that Wei Ch'êng-tzŭ is to be the prime minister. For how can you be compared with Wei Ch’êng-tzŭ? He has an allowance of a thousand chung of grain, and uses only one tenth for himself. The other nine tenths he uses for gifts to attract the empire's worthy gentlemen. In this way he got Pu Tzŭ-hsia, T’ien Tzŭ-fang, and Tuan-kan Mu. All these three men our Prince treats as teachers and friends. All those whom you brought forward he treats as subjects. How then can you be compared with Wei Ch’êng-tzŭ?"

Chai Huang drew back, bowed twice to the ground, and said, "This uncouth person is truly inferior, and has replied improperly to his master." The Ode says,

Brilliant and illustrious is the House of Chou;
He has regulated the positions of the princes.

魏文侯欲置相,召李克问曰:“寡人欲置相,非翟黄则魏成子,愿卜之于先生。”李克避席而辞曰:“臣闻之;卑不谋尊,疏不间亲。臣外居者也,不敢当命。”文侯曰:“先生临事勿让。”李克曰:“夫观士也,居则视其所亲,富则视其所与,达则视其所举,穷则视其所不为,贫则视其所不取。此五者足以观矣。”文侯曰:“请先生就舍,寡人之相定矣。”

李克出,遇翟黄,曰:“今日闻君召先生而卜相,果谁为之?”李克曰:“魏成子为之。”翟黄悖然作色,曰:“吾何负于魏成子!西河之守,吾所进也;君以邺为忧,吾进西门豹;君欲伐中山,吾进乐羊;中山既拔,无守之者,吾进先生;君欲置太子傅,吾进赵苍。皆有成功就事,吾何负于魏成子!”克曰:“子之言克于子之君也,岂比周以求大官哉!君问置相,非成则黄,二子何如?臣对曰:君不察故也。居则视其所亲,富则视其所与,达则视其所举,穷则视其所不为,贫则视其所不取。五者以定矣,何待克哉!是以知魏成子为相也。且子焉得与魏成子比!魏成子食禄日千锺,什一在内,以聘约天下之士,是以得卜子夏,田子方,段干木,此三人,君皆师友之,子之所进皆臣之,子焉得与魏成子比乎!”翟黄逡巡再拜曰:“鄙人固陋,失对于夫子。”

《诗》曰:“明昭有周,式序在位。”

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 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

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