Chinese Philosophical Texts



2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 J. I. Crump, Jr., tr., Chan-Kuo Ts’e (Oxford: Oxford University, 1970)

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Extracts

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 A.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 1. 鄒忌修八尺有餘, 身體昳麗。

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 2. 朝服衣冠,窺鏡, 謂其妻曰:我孰與城北徐公美?

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 3. 其妻曰:君美甚, 徐公何能及公邪?

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 4. 城北徐公, 齊國之美麗者也。

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 5. 忌不自信, 而復問其妾曰:吾孰與徐公美?

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 6. 妾曰:徐公何能及君邪?

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 7. 旦日,客從外來,與坐談,問之客曰:吾與徐公孰美?

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 8. 客曰:徐公不若君之美也。

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 9. 明日,徐公來,熟視之,自以為不如。

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 10. 窺鏡而自視, 又弗如遠甚。

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 11. 暮寢而思之曰:吾妻之美我者,私我也。

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 12. 妾之美我者,畏我也。

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 13. 客之美我者,欲有求於我也。

鄒忌 邹忌 zōu jì Zōu Jì (personal name)
xiū to cultivate; to repair; to grow; long; to edit
chĭ A Chinese foot (measure of length)
surplus, leftover, remainder
shēn self; body
body; structure; physical state
dié to excel; exceedingly; unconstrained
zhāo morning
cháo court (of a monarch); dynasty
clothing; to put on clothing; to submit
guān cap; ceremonial cap; to put a cap on an adolescent male as a ceremonial rite of passage
衣冠 yī guān full ceremonial dress for court
kuī to glance, to peek
jìng a mirror
shú which one?
孰與=孰若 shú ruò which one is better?
chéng a city wall; a city
běi north
徐公 xú gōng Master Xú (personal name)
měi beautiful
shèn very; extremely (see “Particles and Grammar”)
to come up to, to reach, to attain; to match; and; when
Qí (name of a state); to arrange; equal; neat, tidy
self; reflexive adverb
xìn to believe, to trust; belief; truly
further; again; to repeat
dàn morning, dawn
旦日 dàn rì the next day
a guest; a retainer
zuò to sit; a seat
tán to chat, to converse
shú ripe; cooked; familiar; carefully
shì to look
dusk, sundown
qĭn to go to bed; to sleep; to stop; a resting place; a tomb
to think, to ponder; to long for
private, of the family; selfish, partial; secret
wèi to fear, to dread
qiú to seek; to beg

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 B.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 1. 趙且伐燕。

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 2. 蘇代為燕謂惠王曰:今者臣來,過易水。

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 3. 蚌方出曝而鷸啄其肉。

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 4. 蚌合而拑其喙。

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 5. 鷸曰:今日不雨,明日不雨,即有死蚌。

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 6. 蚌亦謂鷸曰:今日不出,明日不出,即有死鷸。

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 7. 兩者不肯相舍,漁者得而并禽之。

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 8. 今趙且伐燕。

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 9. 燕趙久相支,以弊大衆,臣恐強秦之為漁父也。

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 10. 故願王之熟計之。

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 11. 惠王曰:善。

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 12. 乃止。

zhào Zhào (name of a state); a surname
qiě to be about to; even; moreover
to attack
yàn Yàn (name of a state); a swallow
蘇代 苏代 sū dài Sū Dài (personal name)
惠王 huì wáng King Huì (of Zhào)
易水 yì shuĭ the Yì River
bàng a clam
fāng just then, just now; square; upright; direction; locality
to sun, to expose to sun
a crane
zhuó to peck at
ròu meat, flesh
to join, to meet; to close, to shut; to suit, to match; fitting
qián to hold, to grasp
huì a beak
to rain; rain
then; as soon as, at once; to approach
liăng a pair, two
kěn to be willing to
舍=捨 shě to part with; to renounce, to abandon
to fish
bìng together; parallel; both, equally
禽=擒 qín to catch, to capture; to kill
jiŭ for a long time
zhī to hold off; a branch; to disburse; to support, to sustain
to harm; to corrupt; shortcomings, irregularities
kŏng to fear; probably
qiáng strong; to force
qín Qín (name of a state)
yuàn to want, to desire
to plan; to calculate
năi then; is indeed

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 成語:鷸蚌相爭(漁人得利) a quarrel which benefits only a third party

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 C.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 1. 荊宣王問群臣曰:吾聞北方之畏昭奚恤也。

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 2. 果誠何如?

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 3. 群臣莫對。

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 4. 江一對曰:虎求百獸而食之,得狐。

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 5. 狐曰:子勿敢食我也。

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 6. 天帝使我長百獸。

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 7. 今子食我,是逆天帝命也。

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 8. 子以我為不信,吾為子先行,子隨我後,觀百獸之見我而敢不走乎?

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 9. 虎以為然,故遂與之行。

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 10. 獸見之皆走。

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 11. 虎不知獸畏己而走也,以為畏狐。

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 12. 今王之地方五千里,帶甲百萬,而專屬之昭奚恤。

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 13. 故北方之畏奚恤也,其實畏王之甲兵也。

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 14. 猶百獸之畏虎也。

jīng Jīng (alternative name of the state of Chŭ)
宣王 xuān wáng King Xuān
qún a flock, a herd; the collective
wèi to stand in awe of, to fear
昭奚恤 zhāo xī xù Zhāo Xīxù (personal name)
guŏ fruit; result; actually; as predicted; determined, resolute
chéng sincere; truly, indeed; if
何如 hé rú what is it like; what do you think; how about
duì to answer; facing, opposite; at, toward; a pair, a couplet
江一 jiāng yī Jiāng Yī (personal name)
a tiger
百獸 百兽 băi shòu “the hundred creatures,” i.e., all animals
a fox
negative imperative
găn to dare
god-on-high; a god; the emperor
zhăng to grow; to be senior or chief
cháng long
to oppose, to go against; inverse; adverse, contrary
mìng command, mandate; fate, destiny; life span
xiān before; first; previous; in front
suí to follow; subsequently
guān to observe
zŏu to run
rán it is so, it is thus; thus, -ly; right, correct
suì then, consequently
territory, land
a measure of distance; a village
dài a belt, a strap; to wear, to carry; to involve
jiă armor
zhuān to monopolize; arbitrary; concentrated; exclusively
shŭ category, class; to belong to (a category); to owe allegiance to; to attribute to
zhŭ to entrust to; to give instructions to; to compose (writing)
shí fruit; fact, reality; true, real; honest; truly, really

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 成語:狐假 (jiă “to borrow”) 虎威 (wēi “majesty, awesomeness”) to bully the weak by means of one’s association with the powerful

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 D.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 1. 昔者曾子處費。

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 2. 費人有與曾子同名族者而殺人。

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 3. 人告曾子母曰:曾參殺人。

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 4. 曾子之母曰:吾子不殺人。

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 5. 織自若。

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 6. 有頃焉,人又曰:曾參殺人。

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 7. 其母尚織自若也。

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 8. 頃之,一人又告之曰:曾參殺人。

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 9. 其母懼,投杼踰牆而走。

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 10. 夫以曾參之賢與母之信也,而三人疑之,則慈母不能信也。

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 11. 今臣之賢不及曾子,而王之信臣又未若曾子之母也。

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 12. 疑臣者不適三人。

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 13. 臣恐王之為臣投杼也。

in the past; long ago; formerly = 昔者
曾子 zēng zĭ Master Zēng (Zēng Shēn 曾參), a disciple of Confucius
chŭ to live, to stay; to conduct, to manage; to deal with
chù a place
Bì (name of a town)
fèi to spend; expenses; to waste; to consume, to use up
tóng the same, identical
míng a name
a clan, a family name
gào to tell, to inform
shēn (here) Master Zēng’s personal name; ginseng
cān to take part in; to pay respects to; to examine
sān scribal form of the number three 三 sān
zhī to weave; to organize
自若 zì ruò “self-resembling,” i.e., composed, unchanged
qĭng a short while, an interval; a measure of land
yòu again; moreover
shàng still, as before; to value highly
to be afraid
tóu to throw, to cast away; to cast an image; to deliver; to throw oneself, to seek shelter
zhù a shuttle; a loom
to climb over; to exceed; to transgress
xián worthy; excellent
to doubt, to suspect; to cast doubt on; unsettled
loving, gentle, compassionate
shì just, only; just now; to go; to marry (said of a woman); to suit (taste or use); proper, fitting


63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 Major Particles

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 甚 shèn

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 This character functions as an adjective meaning “very” or “to a high degree.” It can either precede or follow the word it modifies, but when it follows the word it is much stronger. Thus 甚遠 would mean “very far,” while 遠甚 would mean “extremely far.”


67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 A. 1. Zōu Jì grew more than eight Chinese feet tall, and he had a beautiful body. 2. In the morning he put on his official cap and robe, glanced at himself in the mirror, and said to his wife, ‘Who is better looking, Master Xú from north of the city or me?’ 3. His wife said, ‘You are extraordinarily good-looking. How could Master Xú match you?’ 4. Master Xú from north of the city was the best looking person in Qí. 5. Jì did not believe in himself, and he again asked his concubine, ‘Who is better looking, Master Xú or me?’ 6. His concubine said, ‘How could Master Xú match you?’ 7. The next day a guest came from outside. He sat with him and talked, and asked it of the guest, ‘Which one is better looking, me or Master Xú?’ 8. The guest said, ‘Master Xú is no match for your beauty.’ 9. The next day Master Xú came. [Zōu Jì] carefully examined him, and he thought that he himself was not as good [looking]. 10. He glanced in the mirror and looked at himself, and again he was less good-looking by an extraordinarily wide margin. 11. That evening he went to bed and thought about it, ‘My wife’s saying that I was more beautiful was because she was partial to me. 12. My concubine’s saying that I was more beautiful was because she was afraid of me. 13. The guest’s saying that I was more beautiful was because he desired to seek something from me.’

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 In Sentence #1 the predicate consists of the verb 修 followed by two four-character phrases that describe the result of Zōu Jì’s growth: first the height, then the beauty of form. In Sentence #2 the four-character unit 朝服 and 衣冠 could in theory be synonyms (“court attire”) but this would be redundant and result in a meaningless phrase. Thus 服 must be the verb “to put on, to wear” and then 朝 would be an adverb, here indicating the time. In the question 我孰與城北徐公美? 孰與 functions as a unit which has the same meaning as 孰若. These two phrases usually express, in the form of a question, the idea that the subject is not as good as the object, rather like 何若 but not as strong. Here it seems to indicate that Zōu Jì does not believe that he is as good-looking as Master Xú, but he asks the question in a way that leaves open the possibility of his being contradicted, thus suggesting that he would like to be contradicted. The wife’s reply, in Sentence #3, is unproblematic, although it is interesting that both she and the concubine (in Sentence #6) answer his question with a question. Everyone is being very polite and using the interrogative form to suggest a straightforward reply without committing themselves to a barefaced lie. Sentence #4 has the structure “subject = predicate 也.” It could be translated “…was a beautiful person of Qí,” but in the context the sentence seems to have more of a comparative, or superlative, force. In Sentence #5 the question put to the concubine is identical to that put to the wife, in Sentence #2, except for the omission of 城北. Throughout the passage the author avoids exact repetition (thus the question is put differently each time). In Sentence #6 the concubine’s reply is nearly identical to the wife’s in Sentence #3, but it omits the first three characters and changes the final 公 to 君. In Sentence #7 the phrase 問之客 could mean “he asked this guest,” but the use of 之 to mean “this” is fairly uncommon and would be unnecessary here. Most likely the passage is to be read as 問之於客 with the particle omitted as unnecessary. The question is more direct here, perhaps because it is between men. The guest’s reply, in Sentence #8, takes the form not of a question but of a simple assertion. In Sentence #9, in the narrative following Master Xú’s arrival, it is important to note that in the phrase 自以為不如, 自 is a reflexive pronoun and hence means that he thought that he himself was not as good [looking]. In Sentence #10 in the phrase 弗如遠甚, note that there is an understood object in the fusion word 弗, hence “not as good as him” and the inversion of 遠 and 甚 is a form of intensification. In Sentences #11, #12, and #13, his nighttime reflection consists of three parallel sentences with the structure “subject = predicate 也,” where the predicate is understood as a set of which the subject is a case. In each of the three subjects, the placing of the phrase 美我 after 之 means that it should be read as a noun “saying that I am more beautiful [lit. ‘beautifying me’], and the 者 marks the whole phrase off as the subject. Note how the predicates are built by taking the core of the subject–美我–and substituting a verb which reveals the “ugly” truth hidden behind the surface of declared beauty. In the last phrase of Sentence #13, descriptive of the guest’s motives, the presence of the verb 有 indicates that 求 should be read as a noun “that which is sought, a favor.” The inclusion of the prepositional phrase 於我 allows the author to finish this clause also with the character 我, thus achieving a rough parallel and pounding home the theme of the self-centered and manipulative nature of language.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 B. 1. Zhào was about to attack Yàn. 2. Sū Dài addressed King Huì [of Zhào] on behalf of Yàn, “Today when I came, I crossed the Yì River. 3. A clam had just come out [of its shell] to sun, and a crane pecked at its flesh. 4. The clam closed and grasped its beak. 5. The crane said, ‘If today it does not rain and tomorrow it does not rain, then there will be a dead clam.’ 6. The clam likewise said to the crane, ‘If today you do not get out and tomorrow you do not get out, then there will be a dead crane.’ 7. The two were unwilling to let one another go, so a fisherman caught and killed both of them. 8. Now Zhào is about to attack Yàn. 9. If Yàn and Zhào hold each other off for a long time, and thereby harm their masses, then I fear powerful Qín’s playing the part of the fisherman. 10. Therefore I desire Your Majesty’s careful evaluation of it.” 11. King Huì said, “Good!” 12. He then stopped [the attack].

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 There is not much remarkable in the language of this story. Anecdotes often made less use of the resources of literary Chinese than argument. There is a heavy predominance of four-character phrases, for example the first phrase of quoted speech, in Sentence #2, which is a pre-posed topic marking the time of an event. Sentence #3 is two four-character phrases linked by 而. The speeches by the two animals (Sentences #5 and #6) are both composed entirely of four-character phrases. In both cases, they are “if…then…” structures, here marked by the 即. The speeches exactly mirror one another, switching only the repeated verb in the “if” element and the name of the animal in the “then.” In the sentence of narrative following the two animals’ speeches (Sentence #7), the marking of the subjects by 者 creates a certain parallel.
In Sentence #8 note how the speaker uses the character 今 to mark the transition from the parable to the present situation. In Sentence #9 where Sū Dài expresses his “fear” to the king, the final 也 might signal that the nominalized (by the 之) phrase 為漁父 is the predicate nominative rather than the object, thus, “what I fear is the playing the role of fisherman by powerful Qín.” Sentence #10 is a common formula: 願 marks a polite request to a superior, and it is routine at the end of an argument not to literally spell out the course desired, but simply to indicate that you would like the ruler to consider it, as if he had thought of it on his own rather than being persuaded by someone else. In this sentence there is an understood subject, 願 is the verb, and the object is the nominalized phrase 熟計之.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 C. 1. King Xuān of Jīng [i.e., of Chŭ] asked the assembled ministers, “I have heard of the northern [regions] fearing Zhāo Xīxù. 2. After all, what is really the case?” 3. Of the assembled ministers, none replied. 4. Jiāng Yī replied, “A tiger hunted all the animals and ate them. He caught a fox. 5. The fox said, ‘You, do not dare to eat me. 6. The Lord of Heaven sent me to be chief of all the animals. 7. Now if you eat me, that would be going against the command of the Lord of Heaven. 8. If you take me to be untrustworthy, I will for your sake go first, and you follow behind me. Observe if any animals, upon seeing me, dare to not flee?’ 9. The tiger thought this was appropriate, so he went along with him. 10. When the animals saw them, they all fled. 11. The tiger did not know that, fearing him, the animals fled. He thought that they feared the fox. 12. Now Your Majesty’s land is five thousand square , those who wear armor number 1,000,000, and you entirely entrust them to Zhāo Xīxù. 13. Therefore, as for the northern regions’ fearing Zhāo Xīxù, the truth is that they fear Your Majesty’s armored troops. 14. It is like all the animals’ fearing the tiger.”

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 In Sentence #1 the first phrase is a simple subject + verb + object; the second phrase, the statement, is a “subject = predicate 也 structure, where the subject is 吾聞 and the rest is the predicate, thus literally “What I have heard of is the fearing Zhāo Xīxù of the northern regions.” This is followed by two four-character sentences, #2 and #3. Sentence #2 is highly condensed, with the 果 meaning “after all, in the end,” and the 誠 meaning “in reality, truly,” and 何如 “what is it like?” In Sentence #3, the narrative tactic of having a 群 of mediocrities used to set off the brilliance of the central actor is not uncommon in the period, appearing notably in the “Biăn Què 扁鵲” chapter of the Shĭ jì 史記. In Sentence #4, the first sentence of the parable is straightforward. It is interesting to note that certain collective categories are indicated with the number 百 (one hundred) and other with 萬 (ten thousand). The former are theoretically liable to enumeration, while the latter are assumed to be beyond counting. In Sentence #5, the opening sentence of the fox’s speech is a negative imperative, “don’t you dare.” In Sentence #6 note that 長 is here a transitive verb. Sentence #7 is an implicit “if…then…” structure. The “then” element consists of a “subject = predicate 也” structure, with 是 as the subject and the rest as predicate. The fox’s cynical and blatantly false appeal to the “Mandate of Heaven” may well be a veiled sneer at Confucians and others who insisted on some divine sanction for authority, while this story argues for the primacy of force. Sentence #8 is likewise an implicit “if…then…” The “if” element is a straightforward “以 A 為 B,” “to take A to be B.” The “then” element has three parts. The first two of these parts assign roles to each of the actors: 吾 and 子. The former will “for (為) you” go first (with 先 as adverb), while the latter will follow behind. Note that although these two phrases are not parallel, both begin with a pronoun, have the “opposed” pronoun in the third position, and the first phrase speaks of 先while the second speaks of 後. The third part of the “then” element is more complicated. The initial 觀 commands all that follows as its object. The phrase preceding the 而 is background or pre-condition, thus “all the animals’ seeing me.” The final 乎 turns it into a “yes-or-no” question, thus literally “all the animals’ seeing me, dare to not flee, yes or no?” This is what the tiger is to observe. In Sentence #9 the first four-character phrase is a basic 以為 “to think that,” and 然 means “it is so, it is right.” In the second phrase, the 故 simply links the two phrases, while 遂 strengthens the sense of direct links, “consequently.” Sentence #10 is again an implicit “if/when…then…” with the first three characters as “when” and the last two as “then.” In Sentence #11 虎 is a subject with two predicates, marked by the opposed verbs 不知 and 以為. Note that while 以為 often implies a lack of real knowledge through its emphasis on the subjective state, here that implication is made explicit through the opposition. The two opposed verbs have opposed parallel objects 畏己 and 畏狐, although the parallel is masked by the elaboration of the first object as two clauses linked by 而 to mark background or pre-condition, “the animals, fearing him[self], fled.” In Sentence #12 (as in Extract B, Sentence #8) the speaker uses the character 今 to mark the transition from the parable to the present situation. In this sentence the modifying phrase 王之 applies to both the territory and the armored soldiers. In the phrase following the 而, 專 is an adverb, 屬 the verb, 之 the direct object (which would seem to refer both to territory and troops), and 昭奚恤 is an indirect object that could have been marked by 於 if the author had chosen to do so. In Sentence #13 the phrase following 故 is an exact repetition of the predicate of the king’s first statement in Sentence #1. Here it reappears as the subject of a “subject = predicate 也” sentence, where the predicate is offered as the true version, marked by the phrase 其實, of the erroneous proposition originally presented by the king. This “true” predicate in turn functions as the understood subject of the final sentence, Sentence #14. This sentence is also a “subject = predicate 也” structure, altered by the verb 猶 “to resemble,” hence “A is like B, “ rather than “A is B.” Thus the last three phrases of the extract (Sentences #13-14) form a series of modified “equations” which develop from the king’s initial question (Sentences #1-2). Question: “I have heard A (Sentence #1); how about it?” (Sentence #2). Answer: “A is really (其實) B, [B] is like C” (Sentence #14).

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 D. In the past, Master Zēng dwelt in Bì. 2. Among the men of Bì, there was one who had the same personal name and family name as Master Zēng, and [this man] committed murder. 3. Someone told Master Zēng’s mother, ‘Zēng Shēn committed murder.’ 4. Master Zēng’s mother said, ‘My son would not commit murder.’ 5. She went on weaving composedly as before. 6. A little time passed, and someone again said, ‘Zēng Shēn committed murder.’ 7. His mother went on weaving composedly as before. 8. There was another interval, and someone again told her, ‘Zēng Shēn committed murder.’ 9. His mother became frightened, cast away her shuttle, climbed over the wall, and fled. 10. Taking [into account] Zēng Shēn’s moral worth and his mother’s trust in him, but when three men cast doubt on him, then his loving mother could not believe in him. 11. Now my moral worth is no match for Master Zēng’s, and Your Majesty’s faith in me, moreover, is not as great as that of Master Zēng’s mother [in her son]. 12. Those who cast doubt on me will not be only three people. 13. I fear Your Majesty’s on my account ‘casting away the shuttle.’

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 Sentence #1 simply locates the story in the distant past. The author chooses to speak of Master Zēng and his mother because they were famous exemplars of proper family relations, and Master Zēng was the earliest advocate of filial piety as the essential virtue. Note the use of “time word + 者” (like the phrase 今者 in Extract B, Sentence #2). Sentence #2 is again the pattern “group + 有 + phrase + 者, “Among [the group] there was one who [phrased].” This whole formula is the phrase prior to 而. The subsequent phrase 殺人 was a legal term meaning “murder.” Thus a late chapter of the Mòzĭ offered the paradox “bandits are men, but killing a bandit is not 殺人,” since to kill a bandit was not punishable as murder. The narrative of Extract D is straightforward with few interesting features. In Sentence #6, in the phrase 有頃焉, 焉 is again the fusion of 於+ 此, thus “there was an interval after that.” In Sentence #8 頃之, on the other hand, is a set phrase meaning literally “interval it,” i.e., insert a chronological gap here. The fear of Master Zēng’s mother was due to the fact that for serious crimes, like murder, collective liability was imposed in the Warring States (although not necessarily at the time when Master Zēng and his mother were actually alive). Here going “over the wall,” in Sentence # 9, is a bit odd. Perhaps it is intended to suggest panic, or the need to avoid detection by not going into the main street. The point of the story, of course, is the power of rumor to overcome the strongest beliefs (like the parable in which after hearing only once that there is a tiger in the marketplace one does not believe it, but after hearing it three times one comes to believe it). Sentence #10, the first one after the end of the parable, is an “if…then…” structure marked by 則. The “if” element consists of two parts linked by 而. The 也 indicates that the first part is something like a pre-posed topic, and also helps to delimit it. The 以 means “to take [into account].” In the phrase after 而, 疑 is a transitive verb followed by the object 之. The following sentences systematically apply to the situation in hand each element of Sentence #10 that gave the moral of the story. In Sentence #11 note that again the transition from parable to reality is marked by 今. In each case, the element of the current situation is not as favorable as that in the parable. Thus the speaker 不及 Master Zēng, the king’s trust in the speaker 未 若 the trust of Master Zēng’s mother, and, in Sentence #12, the slanderers 不適 the three men of the story. The structure and rhetoric of Sentence #13 is identical to the phrase in Extract B, Sentence #9 where the speaker feared “powerful Qín’s playing the role of the fisherman.” Here the speaker fears the king’s acting the part of Master Zēng’s mother, i.e., coming to believe slanderers. It is interesting that this standard formula figures where the speaker chooses to directly insert the events of the story into the current situation. This probably was a form of discretion through indirection. Having told the story and quickly sketched the present situation, the speaker then closes by pointing back to the story rather than to the king’s failings. Rather than directly suggesting that the king will be a stubborn idiot like the clam or the crane, or a dupe like Master Zēng’s mother, the speaker simply refers back to the end of the story and leaves the lesson to the listener. In this way the formula is not unlike the final appeal to the king to “carefully evaluate.”

Page 12

Source: https://web.stanford.edu/group/chinesetexts/cgi-bin/site/11-zhan-guo-ce-%E6%88%B0%E5%9C%8B%E7%AD%96-strategems-of-the-warring-states/