King and Scholar: Who is Powerful? Post No. 2403


Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 18 December 2015


Post No. 2403


Time uploaded in London: 19-41

( Thanks for the Pictures  ) 




Anecdote from China:



The famous First Emperor of the Chin Dynasty (221-206 BC) was snubbed by the scholarly envoy of a very small state. It happened in this way.


Chin having arbitrarily proposed to the small state to exchange a piece of territory, the latter being unwilling, commissioned an envoy to Chin to explain matters to the emperor who was at the height of his power.  At the audience, which seemed to be a tête-à-tête conference, the following incident took place:–



The emperor, suddenly losing his temper said, “Have you ever heard of anger of an emperor?”


“No, Your Majesty”, replied the envoy.


“When an emperor is in anger, said the emperor, there will be a million corpses lying about with blood flowing a thousand miles”.


“Has Your Majesty, asked the envoy, ever heard of the anger of a plain scholar?”


“The anger of the scholar, answered the emperor, can mean no more than taking off his hat and shoes, and knocking his head against the ground.”


“No Your Majesty, said the envoy, This is the anger only of a fool, not that of a scholar”.


After saying this, in highly poetical diction, he recited graphically three well known but not far distant historical instances where unworthy reigning princes were openly slain by scholars. At the end of the citation he calmly exclaimed,


“Now I am going to add my name as the fourth to the list. When a scholar is in anger, there will be only two corpses lying about with blood flowing within five steps. Today is the day when the whole Empire shall be in mourning”. Thereupon he rose with his sword in hand. The Emperor, visibly affected, forthwith knelt before his interlocutor saying,


“Please sit down, Master. Why should things be like this? I understand now. The fact that (larger states like) Haan and Wei have perished, while (a small state like) yours survives is merely because it has (men like) you, Master”.







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