food. He ate soup of herbs, having no rice. He looked very much exhausted, yet he sat within playing his guitar and singing to it.
Yen Hui was picking over the herbs, while Tzŭ Lu and Tzŭ Kung were talking together. One of them said, "Our Master has twice been driven out of Lu. They will have none of him in Wei. His tree was cut down in Sung. He got into trouble in Shang and Chou. And now he is surrounded by the Ch'ens and the Ts'ais. Whoever kills him is to be held guiltless. Whoever takes him prisoner is not to be interfered with. Yet all the time he goes on playing and singing without cease. Is this the right thing, for a superior man to do?"
Yen Hui said nothing, but went inside and told Confucius, who laid aside his guitar and said with a loud sigh, "Yu and Tz'ŭ are ignorant fellows.
- These were their personal names.
Bid them come, and I will speak to them."
When they entered Tzŭ Lu said, "We seem to have made a thorough failure."
"What do you mean?" cried Confucius. "The superior man who succeeds in Tao, has success. If he fails in Tao, he makes a failure. Now I, holding fast to the Tao of charity and duty towards one's neighbour, have fallen among the troubles of a disordered age. What failure is there in that?
"Therefore it is that by cultivation of the inner man there is no failure in Tao, and when danger comes there is no loss of virtue. It is the chill