Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mencius - Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 2

The king Hsüan of Ch'î asked, 'Was it so, that the park of king Wan contained seventy square lî?' Mencius replied, 'It is so in the records.'

'Was it so large as that?' exclaimed the king. 'The people,' said Mencius, 'still looked on it as small.' The king added, 'My park contains only forty square lî, and the people still look on it as large. How is this?' 'The park of king Wan,' was the reply, 'contained seventy square lî, but the grass-cutters and fuel-gatherers had the privilege of entrance into it; so also had the catchers of pheasants and hares. He shared it with the people, and was it not with reason that they looked on it as small?

'When I first arrived at the borders of your kingdom, I inquired about the great prohibitory regulations, before I would venture to enter it; and I heard, that inside the barrier-gates there was a park of forty square lî, and that he who killed a deer in it, was held guilty of the same crime as if he had killed a man. Thus those forty square lî are a pitfall in the middle of the kingdom. Is it not with reason that the people look upon them as large?'
~ James Legge translation via ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Works of Mencius.

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