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Tsze Lieh-tsze was very poor, and his person had a hungry look. A visitor mentioned the case to Tsze-yang, the premier of Kang, saying, 'Lieh Yü-khâu, I believe, is a scholar who has attained to the Tâo. Is it because our ruler does not love such scholars, that he should be living in his state in such poverty?' Tsze-yang immediately ordered an officer to send to him a supply of grain. When Lieh-tsze saw the messenger, he bowed to him twice, and declined the gift, on which the messenger went away.

On Lieh-tsze's going into the house, his wife looked to him and beat her breast, saying, 'I have heard that the wife and children of a possessor of the Tâo all enjoy plenty and ease, but now we look starved. The ruler has seen his error, and sent you a present of food, but you would not receive it;-- is it appointed for us to suffer thus?' Tsze Lieh-tsze laughed and said to her, 'The ruler does not himself know me. Because of what some one said to him, he sent me the grain; but if another speak differently of me to him, he may look on me as a criminal. This was why I did not receive the grain!

In the end it did come about, that the people, on an occasion of trouble and disorder, put Tsze-yang to death.



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