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A thousand sheepskins are not worth the fur under one fox's forelegs

Chao Chien-tzŭ had a minister named Chou Shê, who stood outside his gate for three days and three nights. Chien-tzŭ sent a messenger to ask, "On what business do you wish an interview?"

Chou Shê replied, "I would like to be your outspoken minister. With inked brush and tablet in hand I would follow after Your Highness, looking out for your faults and writing them down, so that each day there will be a record, each month an achievement, and each year good results."

Where Chien-tzŭ stayed, Chou Shê stayed there with him, and when Chien-tzŭ went out, he went out with him. After a little while Chou Shê died, and Chien-tzŭ mourned for him as if he had been his own son. Later he was drinking with the Great Officers in the Hung-po Terrace. When he was drunk on the wine, Chien-tzŭ began to weep, and the Great Officers all went out saying, "We are at fault without knowing ourselves wherein we have offended."

Chien-tzŭ said, "You Great Officers are not at fault. My friend Chou Shê used to say, ‘A thousand sheepskins are not worth the fur under one fox's forelegs, and the servile assent of the multitude is not worth the outspoken works of one gentleman.' Of old Chou of the Shang was lost through silence, while King Wu prospered through frankness on the part of their ministers. Now after Chou Shê's death I never hear of my faults, and it will not be long before I am lost. This is why I wept."

赵简子有臣曰周舍,立于门下,三日三夜,简子使问之,曰:“子欲见寡人何事?”周舍对曰:“愿为谔谔之臣,墨笔操牍,从君之过而,日有记也,月有成也,岁有效也。”简子居、则与之居,出、则与之出。居无几何,而周舍死,简子如丧子。后与诸大夫饮于洪波之台,酒酣,简子涕泣,诸大夫皆出走,曰:“臣有罪而不自知。”简子曰:“大夫皆无罪。昔者、吾有周舍有言曰:‘千羊之皮,不若一狐之腋;众人诺诺,不若一士之谔谔。昔者、商纣默默而亡,武王谔谔而昌。’今自周舍之死,吾未尝闻吾过也,吾亡无日矣,是以寡人泣也。”

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