Once, the King of the State of Wu wanted to invade the State of Chu.
The King of Wu warned his ministers: "If anyone should dare to dissuade me from invading Chu again, I will put him to death."
One young hanger-on of his wanted to dissuade him but didn't dare. He carried a slingshot, and for three consecutive days paced up and down in the King's back garden. The dew wetted his clothes all through.
One day, the King of Wu called him: "The dew has wetted your clothes to such a state. Why should you bear such hardship?"
The young man replied: "There is a cicada on a tree in this garden. The cicada is high above,chirping leisurely and taking in the dew freely, not knowing that a mantis is right behind it. The mantis, pressing its body close in a concealed place, is intent on catchingthe cicada, not knowing that a siskin is hiding right behind it. The siskin is stretching out its neck to peck at the mantis, not knowing that a man carrying a slingshot is under it. These three small creatures make every effort only to get the benefit before them but ignore entirely the disaster behind."
Having heard the young man's words, the King of Wu suddenly saw the light and said: "What you said is right!"
Consequently, the King of Wu dropped his plan to invade the State of Chu.
Zhao Jianzi, the famous general of the State of Jin, prepared to attack the State of Qi. He ordered: "If anyone in the army dares to dissuade me, I will sentence him to death."
A warrior named Gong Luwang, wearing armour and holding a sharp weapon in his hand, laughed loudly the moment he saw Zhao Jianzi.
Zhao Jianzi asked hurriedly: "Why are you laughing?"
Gong Luwang replied: "I thought of something funny."
Jianzi said in a stern voice: "Military command is no joke. If you can explain the reason, I will let you go. Otherwise I will sentence you to death."
Calmly Gong Luwang told a story: "It was the season for gathering mulberries. My neighbours, a couple, went to the field. The husband found a woman in the depths of the mulberry groves. He chased after her but could not catch her, so he returned unhappily. At that time, his wife had already left him in anger. I laugh at my neighbour who had not caught the woman but lost his wife and became single in the end."
After Zhao Jianzi heard Gong Luwang's story, he looked as if he had just wakened from a dream. He said: "Now, if I attack other states, I may possibly fail, then I'll become the subject of asubjugated state."
Consequently, he gave orders to withdraw his troops and return home.
Once, Chun Yukun recommended seven able and virtuous scholars to King Xuan of the State of Qi. King Xuan was surprised and said: "I heard that talented people are hard to find. If one able and virtuous scholar can be found within a circumference of 1, 000 li, it cannot be regarded as few. If 100 years witnesses the advent of a saint, it cannot be regarded as few. Now you recommend seven able and virtuous scholars all at once, then there are too many able and virtuous scholars."
Chun Yukun said: "Birds of the same feather always flock together. Wild beasts of the same kind always walk together. For example, if we wish to find medicinal herbs like the root of Chinese thorowax and the root of balloonflower on the marsh, we will never find even one in our whole life. But if we go to the north side of the Zeshu Mountain and the Liangfu Mountain, we will need carts to carry them back. In the world, things of the same kind always gather together, and it is the same with people. If you want me to select able and virtuous scholars, it will be like getting water from the river, or getting fire from a flint. What is so strange about that? I am going to recommend another big batch of able and virtuous scholars to you, far more than these seven."