Yüan Hsien dwelt in Lu,—in a mud hut, with a grass-grown roof, an apology for a door, and two mulberry-trees for door-posts. The windows which lighted his two rooms were no bigger than the mouth of a jar, and were closed by a wad of old clothes. The hut leaked from above and was damp under foot; yet Yüan Hsien sat gravely there playing on the guitar.
Tzŭ Kung came driving up in a fine chariot, in a white robe lined with purple; but the hood of the chariot was too big for the street.
When he went to see Yüan Hsien, the latter came to the door in a flowery cap, with his shoes down at heel, and leaning on a stalk.
"Good gracious!" cried Tzŭ Kung, "whatever is the matter with you?"
"I have heard," replied Yüan Hsien, "that he who is without wealth is called poor, and that he who learns without being able to practise is said to have something the matter with him. Now I am merely poor; I have nothing the matter with me."
Tzŭ Kung was much abashed at this reply; upon which Yüan Hsien smiling continued, "To try to thrust myself forward among men; to seek friendship in mutual flattery; to learn for the sake of others; to teach for my own sake; to use benevolence and duty to one's neighbour for evil ends; to make a great show with horses and carriages,—these things I cannot do."
Tsêng Tzŭ lived in the Wei State. His wadded