The Duke liked it, and therefore his Ministers did it

Of old, Duke Wen liked his soldiers to wear coarse clothes; and therefore all his Ministers wore sheepskin robes, leather sword-belts, and caps of rough silk, both when having audience and when on duty at Court. Why did they do this? The Duke liked it, and therefore his Ministers did it.

Of old, Duke Ling liked his soldiers to have small waists; and therefore his Ministers made it their rule to have only one meal a day. They drew in their breath before buckling on their belts; they held on to the wall to help themselves to get up; and by the end of a year they were all in danger of turning black from starvation. Why did they do this? The Duke liked it, and therefore his Ministers did it.

Of old, Prince Kou Chien liked his soldiers to be brave, and instructed his Ministers to train them accordingly. When they had followed out these orders, the Prince set fire to a ship in order to test the soldiers, crying out, “All our State jewels are on board!” He then beat the Drum for advance; and when the soldiers heard its irregular rattle, they rushed headlong to trample out the fire, about a hundred men losing their lives in the attempt, whereupon the Prince beat the gong for retreat.

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