In ancient times a man named Zou Ji, chi tall and impressive looking, had served as the prime minister of the State of Qi.
One morning, he tidied his clothes and hat, looked into the mirror, and asked his wife: "Look, who is more handsome, Xu Gong living in the north of the city or I?"
His wife replied: "You are far more handsome. Xu Gong is no match for you!"
Xu Gong of the north of the city was a well-known handsome man in the State of Qi. Zou Ji really didn't believe he was more handsome than Xu Gong. So he asked his concubine: "Look, who is more handsome, Xu Gong or I?"
His concubine also said: "Xu Gong is no match for you!"
The next day, a guest came to discuss some matter with him. Zou Ji asked his guest the same question: "Who is more handsome, Xu Gong or I?"
The guest answered positively: "Xu Gong is not as handsome as you."
Another day passed and Zou Ji met Xu Gong in person. He stared closely at the other for some time and carefully compared him with himself. He really couldn't see that he was more handsome than Xu Gong. Later, he again looked into the mirror. The more he looked at himself, the more he felt he was not as handsome as Xu Gong.
Zou Ji was rather restless in his mind. At night, lying on the bed, he pondered: He was not as handsome as Xu Gong, but why did these three persons say he was more handsome?In the end, he came to understand the reason: "My wife says I am handsome because she shows favouritism to me. My concubine says I am handsome because she is afraid of me. My guest says I am handsome because he wants to curry2 my favour."
Little boy with a bad temper
There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.
He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.
When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal(言语的) wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.
Once, Chun Yukun recommended seven able and virtuous scholars to King Xuan of the State of Qi. King Xuan was surprised and said: "I heard that talented people are hard to find. If one able and virtuous scholar can be found within a circumference2 of 1, 000 li, it cannot be regarded as few. If 100 years witnesses the advent of a saint, it cannot be regarded as few. Now you recommend seven able and virtuous scholars all at once, then there are too many able and virtuous scholars."
Chun Yukun said: "Birds of the same feather always flock together. Wild beasts of the same kind always walk together. For example, if we wish to find medicinal herbs like the root of Chinese thorowax and the root of balloonflower on the marsh4, we will never find even one in our whole life. But if we go to the north side of the Zeshu Mountain and the Liangfu Mountain, we will need carts to carry them back. In the world, things of the same kind always gather together, and it is the same with people. If you want me to select able and virtuous scholars, it will be like getting water from the river, or getting fire from a flint. What is so strange about that? I am going to recommend another big batch of able and virtuous scholars to you, far more than these seven."