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《Chinese Tales for Everyone:Proverb Related_11-自相矛盾,12-大公無私》_Kong Shiu Loon (53)

Proverb Related

(11) Selling Spears and Shields in Contradiction

Long ago, there was a man selling spears and shields in the market.

In trying to make a selling pitch he raised one of his shields and said: “Come and see everyone, my shields are so strong that even the sharpest spear could not pierce through.”

Next, he took a spear and boasted: “Come to examine everyone, my spear is so sharp and strong that just a casual shot would pierce through the hardest shield in the world.”

A bystander chuckled and asked: “Hey man, what if I used one of your spears to attack one of your shields? What would the possible be?

In embarrassment the peddler had nothing to say in return

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Note: This is an English narration of an allegory in the book 韓非子. The original title of the story 自相矛盾 has become a common saying to denote acts of self-contradiction.

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Proverb Related

(12) True Impartiality

Long ago in ancient China a Prince Ping asked his advisor, Qi: “I need a magistrate for the Nanyang County. Who would be a good choice?”

“The best man for the post is Xie Hu.”

“Isn’t he your enemy? Why would you recommend him?” The Prince asked, expressing his surprise.

“You asked me who is most suited for the job. You did not ask who is at odds with me.” Qi replied.

The prince appointed Xie Hu to the post. A year later, the new magistrate had made many contributions to the county. The people all praised and loved him.

In time, Qi was asked to recommend a suitable person to be a judge in the Imperial Court.

“I believe Qi Wu will do a good job,” the advisor replied.

“But, is he not your son?” the Prince asked, being surprised again.

“Yes, Your Highness, he is my son, and also the best man for the job.”

Prince Ping appointed Qi Wu to serve in his court. The latter did much good, and he was loved and respected by the people.

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Note: This is an English narration of an allegory from呂氏春秋》.

The original title 大公無私, was taken from a comment of Confucius when he read the allegory. It has since become a simple verbal representation for the ideal of true impartiality.

晉平公問於祁黃羊曰:「南陽無令,其誰可而為之?」祁黃羊對曰:「解狐可。」平公曰:「解狐非子之讎邪?」對曰:「君問可,非問臣之讎也。」平公曰:「善。」遂用之。國人稱善焉。居有間,平公又問祁黃羊曰:「國無尉,其誰可而為之?」對曰:「午可。」平公曰:「午非子之子邪?」對曰:「君問可,非問臣之子也。」平公曰:「善。」又遂用之。國人稱善焉。孔子聞之曰:「善哉!祁黃羊之論也,外舉不避讎,內舉不避子。」祁黃羊可謂公矣

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