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Yen Yüan was sitting by Duke Ting of Lu

Yen Yüan was sitting by Duke Ting of Lu on a raised platform, when Tung-yeh Pi drove his horse and chariot past.

Duke Ting said, "How well Tung-yeh Pi drives!"

Yen Yüan said, "He is all right, but his horses are going to run away."

Duke Ting was not pleased and said to his retainers, "I had heard that a superior man does not slander people; does he then really engage in slander?"

Yen Yüan withdrew.

Suddenly a man from the Imperial Stables came and announced that Tung-yeh Pi's horses had run away. Duke Ting withdrew from the mat and got up, saying, "Quickly send a chariot to call back Yen Yüan."

When Yen Yüan arrived, Duke Ting said, "A little while ago I said, ‘How well Tung-yeh Pi drives,' and you said, ‘He is all right, but his horses are going to run away.' How did you know it?"
Yen Yüan said, "From principles of government I knew it. In olden times Shun was expert in handling people and Tsao-fu was expert in handling horses. Shun did not wear out his people and Tsao-fu did not drive his horses to the limit. Hence, under Shun the people did not break down, and under Tsao-fu, horses did not run away. Now as to Tung-yeh Pi's driving, in mounting the chariot and holding the bridle, his style of managing was correct. In his evolutions and rushes, he was in complete accord with court ceremony (li). But from going through danger and traveling far he had exhausted the horses' strength; yet still he beat them without cease. Therefore I knew they would run away."

Duke Ting said, "Good. Can you drive the point a little further?"

Yen Yüan said, "If an animal is pushed to extremity, he will bite; in the same circumstances a bird will peck, and a man will practice treachery. Since antiquity to the present day it has never happened that reducing the people to extremity has not been dangerous. The Ode says,

The reins are in his grasp like ribbons,
While the two outside horses move like dancers.

Good driving is illustrative of this."

Duke Ting said, "I was at fault."

颜渊侍坐鲁定公于台,东野毕御马于台下。定公曰:“善哉!东野毕之御也。”颜渊曰:“善则善矣!其马将佚矣。”定公不说,以告左右曰:“闻君子不谮人,君子亦谮人乎?”颜渊退,俄而、厩人以东野毕马佚闻矣。定公揭席而起,曰:“趣驾召颜渊。”颜渊至,定公曰:“乡寡人曰:‘善哉!东野毕之御也。’吾子曰:‘善则善矣!然则马将佚矣。’不识吾子以何知之?”颜渊曰:“臣以政知之。昔者舜工于使人,造父工于使马,舜不穷其民,造父不极其马,是以舜无佚民,造父无佚马。今东野毕之上车执辔,御体正矣,周旋步骤,朝礼毕矣,历险致远,马力殚矣,然犹策之不已,所以知佚也。”定公曰:“善。可少进。”颜渊曰:“兽穷则啮,鸟穷则啄,人穷则诈。自古及今,穷其下能不危者,未之有也。《诗》曰:‘执辔如组,两骖如舞。’善御之谓也。”定公曰:“寡人之过矣。”

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