loyalty and truth. He practises charity and duty towards his neighbour. He regulates ceremonies and music. He distinguishes the relationships of man. He is loyal to his prince above, a reformer of the masses below. Thus he will be of great service to the whole empire. Such is his occupation."
"Is he a ruler of a State?" asked the old man.
"He is not," said Tzŭ Kung.
"A minister?" said the old man.
"No," said Tzŭ Kung.
Then the old man laughed and walked away, saying, "Charity is charity, yet I fear he will not escape the wear of mind and tear of body which imperil the original purity of man. How far, alas, has he wandered from the true path!"
- From Tao.
Tzŭ Kung went back and told Confucius, who, laying aside his lute, arose and said, "This man is a Sage!"
Thereupon he followed the old man down the shore, catching him up just as he was drawing in his boat with his staff. Perceiving Confucius, the old man turned round to receive him, at which Confucius stepped back and prostrated himself twice before advancing.
"What do you want, Sir?" asked the fisherman.
"Just now, venerable Sir," replied Confucius, "you left without finishing your remarks. In my stupidity I cannot make out what you mean.