Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Forest of anecdotes 3 - Confucius, the bane of advisors

子 圉 見 孔 子 於 商 太 宰 , 孔 子 出 , 子 圉 入 , 請 問 客, 太 宰 曰 : 『 吾 已 見 孔 子 , 則 視 子 猶 蚤 蝨 之 細 者 也 。 吾 今 見 之 於 君 。』 子 圉 恐 孔 子 貴 於 君 也 , 因 謂 太 宰 曰 : 『 君 已 見 孔 子 , 亦 將 視 子 猶 蚤蝨 也 。 』 太 宰 因 弗 復 見 也 。

Ziyu introduced Confucius to the prime minister of Shang. After Confucius left, Ziyu came in and asked the premier about his visitor. He answered: “now that I have seen Confucius, I see you are as tiny as a flea. I shall present him to our lord.” Ziyu, fearing that the lord would prefer Confucius to him, then told the prime minister: “When the lord will have seen Confucius, will he not think that you are as tiny as a flea?” The prime minister never arranged the other meeting.

Shang is the state of Song. Its capital was Shangqiu, and its rulers claimed to be descended from the Shang sovereigns.

Ziyu is a style name, this character does not appear elsewhere, but he is typical of the counsellors which were very common in the late Springs and Autumns.

No comments: