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To tie up a bunch of grass and ask for a light

In Ch’i were two retired gentlemen, Master Tung-kuo and Master Liang Shih. At the time when Minister of State Ts’ao was minister of Ch’i, a retainer said to Master K’uei, "Master Tung-kuo and Master Liang Shih are the worthy men of the times. They have secreted themselves in the depths of the mountains and will not bend their bodies or degrade their wills to seek office. I hear that you have access to Minister of State Ts’ao. I wish you might recommend them. Now in my village the matrons are on good terms with one another. A girl was suspected of stealing meat, and her mother-in-law drove her out. Indignant, the girl told a village matron, who said, ‘Go slowly, and presently I will have your mother-in-law call you back,' and tying up a bunch of grass, she went to ask for a light from the family that had driven the girl out. She said, ‘My dogs were fighting over a piece of meat and killed each other. May I have a light so that I can cook them?' Whereupon the mother-in-law immediately sent a man after the girl she had driven out to bring her back. Now a village matron is not a gentleman skilled in speech, nor is tying up a bunch of grass and asking for a light the way to bring a woman back home, but there are things that touch off the proper response and situations which can be properly dealt with. Will you not recommend them?"

Master K’uei said, "I am afraid I can not come up to it, but I will try my best to tie up a bunch of grass and ask for a light on behalf of Master Tung-kuo and Master Liang Shih." After this he had an interview with Minister of State Ts’ao and said, "In my village there was a woman who married again three days after her husband's death. There was another who all her life long never re-married. Now if you were going to marry, which kind of woman would you take for a wife?"

The Minister of State said, "Of course I would marry only the one who to the end of her life would never re-marry."

Master K’uei said, "In Ch’i are the retired gentlemen, Master Tung-kuo and Master Liang Shih. They are the worthy gentlemen of the times, secreting themselves in the depths of the mountains and not bending their bodies or degrading their wills to seek office. If Your Honor in choosing a wife would want to marry one who would not re-marry, are you going to make an exception in choosing a minister by not taking one who will not serve another master?"
Whereupon Minister of State Ts’ao through the good offices of Master K’uei sent a "comfort chariot" with rolls of silk to fetch Master Tung-kuo and Master Liang Shih and treated them as guests of honor. The Ode says,

Let us but see the superior man
And our hearts will be at rest.

齐有隐士东郭先生、梁石君,当曹相国为齐相也。客谓匮生曰:“夫东郭先生梁石君,世之贤也,隐于深山,终不诎身下志以求仕者也。吾闻先生得谒曹相国,愿先生为之先。臣里母相善,妇见疑盗肉,其姑去之,恨而告于里母,里母曰:‘安行,今令姑呼汝。’即束蕴请火,去妇之家,曰:‘吾犬争肉相杀,请火治之。’姑乃直使人追去妇,还之。故里母非谈说之士,束蕴请火,非还妇之道也。然物有所感,事有可适,何不为之先?”匮生曰:“愚恐不及,然请尽力为东郭先生、梁石君束蕴请火。”于是乃见曹相国,曰:“臣之里、有夫死三日而嫁者,有终身不嫁者,则自为娶,将何娶焉?”相国曰:“吾亦娶其终身不嫁者耳。”匮生曰:“齐有隐士东郭先生、梁石君,世之贤士也,隐于深山,终不诎身下志以求仕。相国娶妇,欲娶其不嫁者,取臣独不取其不仕之臣耶?”于是曹相国因匮生束帛安车迎东郭先生、梁石君,厚客之。《诗》曰:“既见君子,我心则降。”

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