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Full Version: Know What Is of Great Importance and What Is of Little (知轻重)
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Han and Wei were contending about border territory which one of them had wrested from the other. Tsze-hwâ Tsze went to see the marquis Kâo-hsi of Han, and, finding him looking sorrowful, said, 'Suppose now that all the states were to sign an agreement before you to the effect that "Whoever should with his left hand carry off the territory in dispute should lose his right hand, and whoever should do so with his right hand should lose his left hand, but that, nevertheless, he who should carry it off was sure to obtain the whole kingdom;" would your lordship feel yourself able to carry it off?'

The marquis said, 'I would not carry it off,' and Tsze-hwâ rejoined, 'Very good. Looking at the thing from this point of view, your two arms are of more value to you than the whole kingdom. But your body is of more value than your two arms, and Han is of much less value than the whole kingdom. The territory for which you are now contending is further much less important than Han:-- your lordship, since you feel so much concern for your body, should not be endangering your life by indulging your sorrow.'

The marquis Kâo-hsî said, 'Good! Many have given me their counsel about this matter; but I never heard what you have said.' Tsze-hwâ Tsze may be said to have known well what was of great importance and what was of little.




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