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King Kâo of Khû Rewarded Sheep-butcher Yüeh (楚昭王赏屠羊说)
03-11-2013, 08:01 PM
Post: #1
King Kâo of Khû Rewarded Sheep-butcher Yüeh (楚昭王赏屠羊说)
When king Kâo of Khû lost his kingdom, the sheep-butcher Yüeh followed him in his flight. When the king recovered his kingdom and returned to it, and was going to reward those who had followed him, on coming to the sheep-butcher Yüeh, that personage said, 'When our Great King lost his kingdom, I lost my sheep-killing. When his majesty got back his kingdom, I also got back my sheep-killing. My income and rank have been recovered; why speak further of rewarding me?'

The king, on hearing of this reply, said, 'Force him to take the reward;' but Yüeh said, 'It was not through any crime of mine that the king lost his kingdom, and therefore I did not dare to submit to the death which would have been mine if I had remained in the capital. And it was not through any service of mine that he recovered his kingdom, and therefore I do not dare to count myself worthy of any reward from him.'

The king now asked that the butcher should be introduced to him, but Yüeh said, 'According to the law of Khû, great reward ought to be given to great service, and the recipient then be introduced to the king; but now my wisdom was not sufficient to preserve the kingdom, nor my courage sufficient to die at the hands of the invaders. When the army of Wû entered, I was afraid of the danger, and got out of the way of the thieves;-- it was not with a distinct purpose of loyalty that I followed the king. And now he wishes, in disregard of the law, and violations of the conditions of our social compact, to see me in court;-- this is not what I would like to be talked of through the kingdom.'

The king said to Tsze-khî, the Minister of War, 'The position of the sheep-butcher Yüeh is low and mean, but his setting forth of what is right is very high; do you ask him for me to accept the place of one of my three most distinguished nobles.'

This being communicated to Yüeh, he said, 'I know that the place of such a distinguished noble is nobler than a sheep-butcher's stall, and that the salary of 10,000 kung is more than its profits. But how should I, through my greed of rank and emolument, bring on our ruler the name of an unlawful dispensation of his gifts? I dare not respond to your wishes, but desire to return to my stall as the sheep-butcher.' Accordingly he did not accept the proffered reward.

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