When Tse-Yang was traveling In Ch'u, Yi Chieh spoke to the king of Ch'u about him, but gave up and went home without having persuaded the king to grant Tse-yang an interview. Tse-yang went to see Wang Kuo and said, "Sir, I wonder if you would mention me to the king."Let's face it. Most people in a position of power love the brown-noser. They want to be told how wonderful they are and how all their ideas and initiatives are THE right ones. They want to feel loved, respected, valued and cherished. In almost every case, the brown-noser is sure to deliver!
Wang Kuo replied, "I would not be as good at that as Kung Yueh-hsiu."
Tse-yang said, "Kung Yueh-hsiu? What does he do?"
"In winter he spears turtles by the river, in summer he loafs around the mountains, and if anyone comes along and asks him about it, he says, `This is my house!' Now since Yi Chieh was unable to persuade the king, what could I do? - I am not even a match for Yi Chieh. Yi Chieh is the kind of man who has understanding, though he lacks real virtue. He is not permissive with himself, but puts his whole spirit into pleasing his friends. He has always been dazzled and misled by wealth and eminence - so he is not the kind to help others out with virtue, but instead will help them out with harm. A man who is chilled will think spring has come if he piles on enough clothes; a man suffering from the heat will think winter has returned if he finds a cool breeze. Now the king of Ch'u is the kind of man who is majestic and stern in bearing, and if offended he is as unforgiving as a tiger. No one but a gross flatterer or a man of the most perfect virtue can hope to talk him into anything.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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