Pulling Up the Seedlings to Help Them Grow
There was a man in the State of Song who had an impatient disposition. Day and night he longed for the seedlings in the field to grow tall and strong quickly. But the seedlings grew very slowly,not as quickly as he hoped.
One day, he hit upon a good idea. He sneaked to the field andpulled each seedling up a little bit from the soil. Seeing that all these edlings in the field were taller than before, he felt very pleased with himself.
He went home. Though all worn out, he told the members of his family happily:
"I worked for a whole day today. How tired I am! But the seedlings in the field have grown a lot taller."
When his son heard that the seedlings had grown taller, he hurried to the field to take a look. Oh, what a mess!Instead of growing taller, the seedlings had all started to wither.
The Quail Ridicules the Roc
As the legend goes, during ancient times, in the expansive open country of North China, there was a kind of birds called "rocs".
The roc was very huge, with its back like a big mountain, and its wings like a stretch of cloud which could cover the sky. When it spread its wings, it could break through a storm and soar at a height of 90,000 li (1/2 kilometre) in the sky towards the sea in the south.
A small bird called the quail bounced on the ground, free and happy. It looked up at the roc soaring in the sky and couldn't help laughing:
"Hey, see how cocky you are! Look at me, one jump can take me over 10 chi. How delightful! Every day I come and go amid these weeds and thickets and fly freely. Don't I fly quite well too? But, where can you fly to anyway?"
King Hui of Liang watched the cook dissecting an ox. Up went his hand, down went the knife, cutting it just right with dexterous movements. The King praised:
“Your skill is excellent!”
The cook answered:
"1 can do it so dexterously because I am familiar with the physiological structure of the ox. I see perfectly well each and every part of the ox which is no longer a whole ox to me. I have a clear mental picture of where its joints and main and collateral channels are, and know exactly where to start cutting and how much force is needed."
The cook continued:
"The knives of others become blunt after being used for a short time, whereas I have used my knife for 19 years and slaughtered nearly 1,000 oxen, and it is still as sharp as a new one. However, when I come across a complicated structure, I would be cautious and conscientious and dare not be the least negligent. I cut swiftly but lightly with great concentration and care.
After hearing this, King Hui of Liang said:
"What you said is wonderful!From you I have learned the way of cultivating my mind and developing my character."