- who succeeded him, may be regarded as the Golden Age of China's history. See p. 8.
wished to abdicate in favour of Hsü Yu,
- A worthy hermit.
saying, "If, when the sun and moon are shining, you persist in lighting a torch, is not that a misapplication of fire? If, when the rainy season is at its height, you still continue to water the ground, is not this a waste of labour? Now, sir, do you assume the reins of government, and the empire will be at peace. I am but a dead body, conscious of my own deficiency. I beg you will ascend the throne."
"Ever since you, sire, have directed the administration," replied Hsü Yu, "the empire has enjoyed tranquillity. Supposing, therefore, that I were to take your place now, should I gain any reputation thereby? Besides, reputation is but the shadow of reality; and should I trouble myself about the shadow? The tit, building its nest in the mighty forest, occupies but a single twig. The tapir slakes its thirst from the river, but drinks enough only to fill its belly. To you, sire, belongs the reputation: the empire has no need for me. If a cook is unable to dress his funeral sacrifices, the boy who impersonates the corpse may not step over the wines and meats and do it for him."
- This illustrates rejection of reputation by the true Sage. See ch. vii.
Chien Wu said to Lien Shu,
- Both fictitious personages.