苛政猛于虎 （礼记工员 檀弓）
OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT IS MOKE FEARSOME
THAN A TIGER
Once when Confucius was passing near the foot of Mount Tai in a chariot, there was a married woman weeping at a grave mound, and dolorously too. Confucius politely rested his hands on the front rail of the chariot and listened to her weeping. He sent Zilu to inquire of her, saying:” From the sound of your weeping, it seams that you indeed have many troubles.”
Then the woman said:” It is true. My father-in-law died in a tiger’s jaw; my husband also died there. Now, my son has also died there.” Confucius said,” Why do you not leave this place?” The woman said:” Here there is no harsh and oppressive government.” Confucius said,” Young men, take note of this: a harsh and oppressive government is more ferocious and fearsome than even a tiger.”
SPEARS AND SHIELDS
There was a man of the state of Chu who sold shields and spears. He bragged about his shields saying:” My shields are so hard that nothing can pierce through them .”He also bragged about his spears saying:” My spears are so sharp that there is nothing they cannot pierce through.” Someone said:” What would happen if people were to use your spears to pierce through your shields?’ That person could not answer. Now, shields that cannot be pierced through and spears that can pierced through anything cannot exist at the sane time.
塞翁失马 (淮南子 人间)
THE OLD MAN AT THE FRONTIER LOSES HIS HORSE
Among the people near the frontier, there was one skilled at prognostication. For no reason, his horse ran off into the territory of the barbarians; everyone consoled him. His father said:” As for this, why can’t it become good fortune?” After several months, his horse returned leading some good barbarian horses; everyone congratulated him. His father said,” As for this, why can’t it become a disaster?” Since there were many good horses in the household, his son became fond of riding, fell off a horse, and broke his thigh bone; everyone consoled the son’s father. His father said, “ As for this, why can’t it become good fortune?” After a year, the barbarians entered the frontier in great numbers. All the adult males picked up their bows to go fight. Of the people near the frontier, nine out of ten died. Only because of this man’s son’s lameness, could father and son both be safe [secure]. Thus, as to how fortune becomes misfortune and misfortune becomes fortune, this transformation cannot be utterly known; its depth cannot be fathomed.
WAITING FOR A HARE AT THE TREE STUMP
There was a person in the state of Song who tilled the land; in his field was a tree stump. A hare ran by, dashed into the tree stump, broke its neck, and then died. The person tilling the field these upon put down his plough in order to watch the tree stump, hoping to get another hare. He could not get a hare again; instead he was laughed at by the people of Song.
揠 苗 ：揠苗助长
PULING UP THE SPROUTS
There was a person from the state of Song who was concerned that his sprouts would not grow tall and who therefore pulled them up a bit. He returned home looking exhausted and spoke to the people in his family saying:” Today I am tired out! I have just helped the sprouts grow taller.” His son rushed out and went to the fields to look at the sprouts; it turned out that the sprouts had all withered.
The people in the world who do not help their sprouts grow are few indeed! The people who think there is no advantage in nurturing them are the people who abandon them; these are the people who do not weed their sprouts. The people who want to help their sprouts grow are the people who pull them up a bit. The method of pulling them up a bit not only has no benefit, but on the contrary also injures them.
YANZI DISCUSSES THIEVING WITH THE KING OF CHU
Yanzi was about to go to the state of chu as an envoy. When the king of Chu heard this news, he spoke to his retainers saying:” Yan Ying is a man of Qi gifted with a silver tongue. Now he is about to come to Chu, I want to humiliate him; what means should I employ to do this?”
One of his attendants responded saying:” When he comes, let your majesty have me tie up a man and walk past your majesty. Your majesty will say:” What did this man do?” I will respond:’ This man is a man of Qi.’ Your majesty will say:’ What crime is he being punished for?’ I will respond:’ He is being punished for the crime of theft.’” Yanzi arrived. The king of Chu laid out a banquet to entertain him. When they gad become pleasantly inebriated, two minor officials tied up a man and came before the king. The king said:” What did the bound man do?” The two minor officials said:” This man is a man of the state of Qi who is being punished for the crime of robbery.” The king of Chu, looking at Yanzi, said:” Have the people of the state of Qi always excelled at robbery?” Yanzi left his seat and responded saying:” I have heard that when tangerine trees grow south of the Huai River, then they bear tangerines; if they grow north of the Huai River, then they will bear citrons. The leaves are similar to no avail, for the taste is really not the same at all. Why is it so? This is because the soil and water are different. Now if people who grow up in the state of Qi do not rob, yet when they enter the state of Chu, they rob, could it not be that it is the soil and water of the state of Chu that makes them excel at robbery?”
画蛇添足 （战国策 齐策）
DRAWING A SNAKE AND ADDING FEET
In the state of Chu there was a man who was sacrificing to his ancestors; he offered his retainers a goblet of wine. The retainers spoke among themselves saying:” If several people drink it, there will not be enough; if one person drinks it, there will be some left over. Let us draw a snake on the ground; the one who finishes first drinks the wine.” One person finished the snake first.
He drew the wine goblet to himself and was about to drink. Whereupon, holding the goblet in his left hand, he drew the snake with his right hand, saying:” I can add some feet to it.” Before he had finished drawing the feet, another person’s snake was finished. That person snatched away that goblet saying:” Snakes originally do not have feet; how is it that you can add feet to them?” That person thereupon drank that goblet. The person who added feet to the snake lost his wine in the end.