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Duke Huan of Ch’i condescends to cotton-clothed gentleman

Duke Huan of Ch’i, wishing to see the Hsiao-ch’ên Chi, thrice went to him without being granted an interview. His attendants said, "The office of hsiao-ch’ên is the lowest in the state. Having thrice gone to him without being granted an interview, Your Highness may properly desist."
Duke Huan said, "Alas, what sort of talk is this? I have heard that a gentleman in cotton clothes who does not desire riches and honour will stand on his dignity toward the ruler of a state of ten thousand chariots, and that the ruler of a state of ten thousand chariots who does not love jên and i will stand on his dignity toward a cotton-clothed gentleman. It is all right if our master does not desire riches and honour, but for me not to love jên and i is not all right." When he went for the fifth time, he was granted an interview.
On hearing of this the feudal lords of the empire said, "If Duke Huan condescends even to a cotton-clothed gentleman, how much the more can a prince of the realm expect!" And they led one another to his court; there were none who did not come. Such were the means whereby Duke Huan assembled the feudal lords and by which he united and rectified the empire.
The Ode says,
To an upright virtuous conduct,
All in the four quarters of the State render obedient homage.


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