So on the strength of his connection with Confucius, Tzŭ Kung obtained an interview. Lao Tzŭ received him distantly and with dignity, saying in a low voice, "I am old, Sir. What injunctions may you have to give me?"
"The administration of the Three Kings and of the Five Rulers," replied Tzŭ Kung, "was not uniform; but their reputation has been identical. How then, Sir, is it that you do not regard them as Sages?"
"Come nearer, my son," said Lao Tzŭ. "What mean you by not uniform?"
"Yao handed over the empire to Shun," replied Tzŭ Kung; "and Shun to Yü. Yü employed labour, and T'ang employed troops. Wên Wang followed Chou Hsin and did not venture to oppose him. Wu Wang opposed him and would not follow. Therefore I said not uniform."
"Come nearer, my son," said Lao Tzŭ, "and I will tell you about the Three Kings and the Five Rulers.
"The Yellow Emperor's administration caused the affections of the people to be catholic. Nobody wept for the death of his parents, and nobody found fault.
- All loved each other equally.
"The administration of Yao diverted the affections of the people into particular channels. If a man slew the slayer of his parents, nobody blamed him.
- Filial affection began to predominate.