Page:A history of Chinese literature - Giles.djvu/39

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interesting episodes, and every now and again some quaint conceit or scrap of proverbial literature is thrown in to give a passing flavour of its own. Under the 21st year of Duke Hsi, the Spring and Autumn has the following exiguous entry:—

“In summer there was great drought.”

To this the Tso Chuan adds—

“In consequence of the drought the Duke wished to burn a witch. One of his officers, however, said to him, ‘That will not affect the drought. Rather repair your city walls and ramparts; eat less, and curtail your expenditure; practise strict economy, and urge the people to help one another. That is the essential; what have witches to do in the matter? If God wishes her to be slain, it would have been better not to allow her to be born. If she can cause a drought, burning her will only make things worse.’ The Duke took this advice, and during that year, although there was famine, it was not very severe.”

Under the 12th year of Duke Hsüan the Spring and Autumn says—

“In spring the ruler of the Ch’u State besieged the capital of the Chêng State.”

Thereupon the Tso Chuan adds a long account of the whole business, from which the following typical paragraph is extracted:—

“In the rout which followed, a war-chariot of the Chin State stuck in a deep rut and could not get on. Thereupon a man of the Ch’u State advised the charioteer to take out the stand for arms. This eased it a little, but again the horses turned round. The man then advised that the flagstaff should be taken out and used as a lever, and at last the chariot was extricated. ‘Ah,’ said the