Skip to main content

Tzŭ-lu was gathering firewood with Wu-ma Ch’i

Tzŭ-lu was gathering firewood with Wu-ma Ch’i at the foot of Mt. Yün. Among the rich men of Ch’ên there was one named Ch’u-shih with a hundred decorated chariots, who gave himself up to feasting on Mt. Yün.

Tzŭ-lu said to Wu-ma Ch’i, "If, without forgetting what you now know, but also without advancing any in what you now are capable of, you attained to such wealth as this, provided you would never get to go back and see the Master again, would you do it?"

Wu-ma Ch’i, looking toward Heaven with a deep sigh, stopped and threw his sickle to the ground saying, "I have heard from the Master that a brave gentleman never forgets that he may lose his head, while the determined gentleman or the man endowed with jên never forgets that his end may be in a ditch or a stream. Is it that you do not know me? Or are you trying me? Or is it perhaps your own intention?"

Tzŭ-lu was mortally ashamed and, shouldering his firewood, went home first.

Confucius said, "Well, Yu, why do you come back first when you went out in company?"

Tzŭ-lu told what happened a while ago when he was gathering firewood with Wu-ma Ch’i at the foot of Mt. Yün. He was mortally ashamed, and so he shouldered his firewood and came back first."
Confucius took up his lute and played on it, singing the Ode,

Su-su go the feathers of the wild geese,
As they settle on the bushy oaks.
The king's affairs must not be slackly discharged,
And so we cannot plant our millets;
What will our parents have to rely on?
O thou distant and azure Heaven!
When shall we be in our places again?

Shall my way not be practiced? If you are willing. . . ."



Popular posts from this blog


Miss Li, ennobled with the title "Lady of Ch‘ien-kuo," was once a prostitute in Ch‘ang-an. The devotion of her conduct was so remarkable that I have thought it worth while to record her story. In the T‘ien-pao era there was a certain nobleman, Governor of Ch‘ang-chou and Lord of Jung-yang, whose name and surname I will omit. He was a man of great wealth and highly esteemed by all. He had passed his fiftieth year and had a son who was close on twenty, a boy who in literary talent outstripped all his companions. His father was proud of him and had great hopes of his future. "This," he would say, "is the "thousand-league colt" of our family." When the time came for the lad to compete at the Provincial Examinations, his father gave him fine clothes and a handsome coach with richly caparisoned horses for the journey; and to provide for his expense at the Capital, he gave him a large sum of money, saying, "I am sure that your talent is such that …

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 from oral tradition.…

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 old…