Circumstances alter cases

OF old Mi Tzu-hsia was much attached to the Prince of the Wei State, where there was a law that any one who should furtively ride in one of the royal chariots would be punished by having his feet cut off. Now when Mi’s mother was ill and her illness was reported to him, he went boldly off in one of the Prince’s chariots to see her. On hearing of this, the Prince entirely approved, saying, “Filial piety! For the sake of his mother he risked the loss of his feet.”

On another occasion. Mi was strolling with the Prince in a fruit-garden; and finding that a peach, of which he had partly eaten, was unusually sweet, he offered the remaining piece to the Prince. The Prince said, “Love for me! He forgets himself.”

Mi’s face fell, and his attachment abated. The Prince added, “He furtively rode off in one of my chariots, and now he wants to feed me with the balance of his peach.” (Han Fei Tzu)

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