Gems of Chinese Literature/Kung-yang Kao-A Great Exodus

WHAT is meant by a Great Exodus?―Extinction.

Who extinguished?―The Ch‘i State extinguished.

Then why not say Ch‘i extinguished?―To avoid the name of Duke Hsiang of Ch‘i. In such cases in the Annals, the name of a good man is always omitted.

What goodness was there in Duke Hsiang? He avenged an injury.

What injury?―Owing to slander by the then Marquis of Chi, a distant ancestor of his had been boiled alive at the suzerain's capital;[2] and what Duke Hsiang did on this occasion was actuated by an overwhelming sense of duty to the manes of this ancestor.

How many generations back was this ancestor?―Nine generations.

May an injury be avenged even after nine generations?―It may be avenged even after one hundred generations.[3]

  1. To save his people from the horrors of war. The commentator Ku-liang Ch'ih (q.v.) says “he did not leave a single man behind him,” which can only mean that his partisans and retainers followed him, as he handed over the feudal throne to a brother. The State of Chi was ultimately absorbed by the victors.
  2. In 893 b.c. The present entry refers to 689 b.c.
  3. The principle of the blood-feud has been attributed to Confucius; but the attribution has only been found in works―the Book of Rites and the Family Sayings―neither of which, certainly not the latter, as possessing the stamp of authenticity.