Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 24, Part 6

Trey Smith


The Yellow Emperor set out to visit Great Clod at Chi!-tz'u Mountain. Fang Ming was his carriage driver, while Ch'ang Yu rode at his right side; Chang Jo and Hsi P'eng led the horses and K'un Hun and Ku Chi followed behind the carriage. By the time they reached the wilds of Hsiang-ch'eng, all seven sages had lost their way and could find no one to ask directions from. Just then they happened upon a young boy herding horses, and asked him for directions. "Do you know the way to Chu-tz'u Mountain?" they inquired.

"Yes."

"And do you know where Great Clod is to be found?"

"Yes."

"What an astonishing young man!" said the Yellow Emperor. "You not only know the way to Chu-tz'u Mountain, but you even know where Great Clod is to be found! Do you mind if I ask you about how to govern the empire?"

"Governing the empire just means doing what I'm doing here, doesn't it?" said the young boy. "What is there special about it? When I was little, I used to go wandering within the Six Realms, but in time I contracted a disease that blurred my eyesight. An elderly gentleman advised me to mount on the chariot of the sun and go wandering in the wilds of Hsiang-ch'eng, and now my illness is getting a little better. Soon I can go wandering once more, this time beyond the Six Realms. Governing the empire just means doing what I'm doing - I don't see why it has to be anything special."

"It's true that the governing of the empire is not something that need concern you, Sir," said the Yellow Emperor. "Nevertheless, I would like to ask you how it should be done."

The young boy made excuses, but when the Yellow Emperor repeated his request, the boy said, "Governing the empire I suppose is not much different from herding horses. Get rid of whatever is harmful to the horses - that's all."

The Yellow Emperor, addressing the boy as "Heavenly Master," bowed twice, touching his head to the ground, and retired.

~ Burton Watson translation ~
This little tale should be sent to the leaders of the western world!

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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