Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/449

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CAP. XXXI.]
415
The Old Fisherman

Therefore I have come in the humble hope of hearing any words with which you may deign to help me."

"Well," said the old man, "you are certainly anxious to learn."

At this Confucius prostrated himself twice, and when he got up said, "Yes, I have been a student from my youth upwards until now, the sixty-ninth year of my age. Yet I have never heard the true doctrine, which I am now ready to receive without bias."

"Like species follow like," answered the old man. "Like sounds respond to like.

See p. 283, and the experiment of the two lutes, p. 319.

This is a law of nature. I will now with your leave apply what I know to what you occupy yourself with,—the affairs of men.

"The Son of Heaven, the princes, the ministers, and the people,—if these four fulfil their proper functions, the result is good government. If they quit their proper places, the result is unutterable confusion. When the officials mind their duties and the people their business, neither is injured by the other.

"Barren land, leaky roofs, want of food and clothing, inability to meet taxation, quarrels of wives and concubines, no precedence between young and old,—such are the sorrows of the people.

"Capacity unequal to one's duties, and inability to carry on routine work, absence of clean-handed-