Free Chinese Lesson - Chinese Proverb: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black






The King of Liang Hui likes to make his people fight with their neighbors. One day, the king met with Mencius and asked, "I am in a position of power, regarding the country's governance, it can be said that I am working very hard in my role. Henei county often suffer from famine, the harvest is not good, so I let some of the people migrate to where the harvest is good, in Hedong, and ship the good harvest of Hedong to Henei, so that the people of Henei will not starve to death. Sometimes Hedong will encounter disaster and food failure, so I do the the same thing - transport the grain from the other places to Hedong to solve the people's food shortage. I see the practices of neighboring states, no one would do as I did for the best interests of their own people. However, the neighboring states' population did not decrease, and my people did not increase, what is the reason for this?"

Mencius replied: "Since Your Majesty likes to fight, I will use the battlefield to make an analogy: The two armies are in confrontation, war drums pounding loudly, fighting each other in close combat. After a fierce fight, the winning side gives chase, the losing side throws away their helmets and armors, dragging their weapons to escape. Some of the fleeing soldiers who are able to run fast ran a hundred steps until stopping; those who ran slowly ran for fifty steps, and the slow soldiers who ran fifty steps ridicule the soldiers who ran a hundred steps, calling them cowards. Do you think that this ridicule is deserved? "

The King of Liang Hui said: "No, they just did not go a hundred steps, and they are also fleeing!"

Mencius said, "If you, as the king, can understand the meaning behind the story, then there is no need for the people of your state to be more than your neighbors."

This fable's moral: To see the truth, one should observe the nature of things and the overall situation, not just look at the situation's facade and partial events. Neighboring states do not care for their people's lives during famine, so their kings are not good rulers who love the people. The King of Liang Hui often mobilizes people to fight wars, so that people are destitute, he is also not a ruler who really loves the people.