Chinese Fable Stories – On Wearing Armour





On Wearing Armour

One day Tian Zan into the presence of the Prince of Chu in rags.

“You are very shabbily dressed, sir,” remarked the prince.

“There are worse clothes than these,” replied Tian Zan.

“What may they be, pray?”

“Armour is worse.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It is cold in winter and hot in summer; so no clothes are worse than armour. Since I am a poor man, my clothes are naturally shabby; but you are a prince with ten thousand chariots and untold wealth, yet you like to dress men in armour. This is something I cannot understand. Perhaps you are bent on fame? But armour is used in war, when men’s heads are hacked off, their bodies pierced, their cities razed to the ground, and their parents and children tortured—the mere name is rather inglorious. Or perhaps you are bent on gain? But if you try to injure others, others will try to injure you; and if you endanger their lives, they will endanger yours. Thus you will gain nothing but trouble for your own men. If I were you, I would not wage war for either.”

The Prince of Chu had nothing to say to that.

New Discourses (Xin Xu)

(杨宪益、戴乃迭 译)

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