Skip to main content

Best to leave the State's sharpest weapons where none can see them.

Of old the Ssŭ-ch’êng Tzŭ-han was minister to the ruler of Sung. He said to the Prince of Sung, "Now the peace of a state and the governance of its people depend on the conduct of the ruler. Titles and rewards are what people like. May Your Highness take charge of them. Executions and punishments are what the people hate. Let me be responsible for them."
The Prince said, "Agreed. I will get their approval and you will receive their hatred. I am convinced that I will not be the laughing-stock of the feudal lords."
When the people of the state knew that the punishments of death and decapitation were entirely in the hands of Tzŭ-han, the great ministers were friendly with him and the common people feared him. Before the year was out, Tzŭ-han had driven out the Prince of Sung and taken over the government himself. Just as Lao-tzŭ says,
It is best to leave the fish down in his pool;
Best to leave the State's sharpest weapons where none can see them.
The Ode says,
But why does he call us to action,
Without coming and consulting with us?
昔者、司城子罕相宋,谓宋君曰:“夫国家之安危,百姓之治乱,在君之行。夫爵禄赏赐举,人之所好也,君自行之;杀戮刑罚,民之所恶也,臣请当之。”君曰:“善。寡人当其美,子受其恶,寡人自知不为诸侯笑矣。”国人知杀戮之刑专在子罕也,大臣亲之,百姓畏之,居不期年,子罕遂去宋君,而专其政。故《老子》曰:“鱼不可脱于渊,国之利器不可以示人。”《诗》曰:“胡为我作,不即我谋。”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a