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Three sprouts united to put forth a single ear

In King Ch’êng's time there were three sprouts that grew up through a mulberry leaf and united to put forth a single ear of grain large enough nearly to fill a cart and long enough nearly to cover the bed of a wagon. King Ch’êng asked the Duke of Chou, "What is this thing?"

The Duke of Chou said, "It seems to me that three sprouts united into a single ear of grain means that the empire is now about to become unified."

Three years after this in fact the ruler of Yüeh-shang sent a mission with nine interpreters to present to the Duke of Chou some white pheasants. The envoy said, "So distant was the road, so secluded the mountains and so deep the rivers, that it was feared an envoy would not reach here without the aid of many interpreters."

The Duke of Chou declined saying, "Why should I be given a present?"

The interpreter said, "We received the order from the elders of my state who said, ‘For a long time in the heavens there have been no sudden winds or quick rains, and on the sea no waves or inundations. For three years it has been thus. It seems to us probable that there is a sage in the Middle Kingdom. Why not go pay court to him?' Whereupon we came."

The Duke of Chou then respectfully received that which they had brought. The Ode says,

For myriads of years,
Will there not be their helpers?

成王之时,有三苗贯桑而生,同为一秀,大几满车,长几充箱。成王问周公曰:“此何物也?”周公曰:“三苗同一秀,意者、天下殆同一也。”比几三年,累有越尝氏重九译而至,献白雉于周公:“道路悠远,山川幽深,恐使人之未达也,故重译而来。”周公曰:“吾何以见赐也?”译曰:“吾受命国之黄发曰:‘久矣!天之不迅风疾雨也,海不波溢也,三年于兹矣!意者、中国殆有圣人,盍往朝之!’于是来也。”周公乃敬求其所以来。《诗》曰:“于万斯年,不遐有佐”。

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