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Tsze-lu, following the Master,...


Tsze-lu, following the Master, happened to fall behind, when he met an old man, carrying across his shoulder on a staff a basket for weeds. Tsze-lu said to him, 'Have you seen my master, sir!' The old man replied, 'Your four limbs are unaccustomed to toil; you cannot distinguish the five kinds of grain:— who is your master?' With this, he planted his staff in the ground, and proceeded to weed.

Tsze-lu joined his hands across his breast, and stood before him.

The old man kept Tsze-lu to pass the night in his house, killed a fowl, prepared millet, and feasted him. He also introduced to him his two sons.

Next day, Tsze-lu went on his way, and reported his adventure. The Master said, 'He is a recluse,' and sent Tsze-lu back to see him again, but when he got to the place, the old man was gone.

Tsze-lu then said to the family, 'Not to take office is not righteous. If the relations between old and young may not be neglected, how is it that he sets aside the duties that should be observed between sovereign and minister? Wishing to maintain his personal purity, he allows that great relation to come to confusion. A superior man takes office, and performs the righteous duties belonging to it. As to the failure of right principles to make progress, he is aware of that.'

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