Confucius conducting an archery meeting

Once, when Confucius was conducting an archery meeting in a vegetable garden at Kio-hsiang, the lookers-on surrounded it like a wall. When the proceedings reached the point when a Master of the Horse should be appointed, he directed Dze-lû to take his bow and arrows, and go out to introduce those who wished to shoot, and to say, ‘The general of a defeated army, the Great officer of a ruler-less state, and any one who has schemed to be the successor and heir of another, will not be allowed to enter, but the rest may all enter.’ On this, one half went away, and the other half entered.

After this, wishing to send the cup round among all the company, he further directed Kung-wang Khiû and Hsü Tien to raise the horns of liquor, and make proclamation. Then Kung-wang Khiû raised his horn, and said, ‘Are the young and strong here observant of their filial and fraternal duties? Are the old and men of eighty here such as love propriety, not following licentious customs, and resolved to maintain their characters to death? If so, they may occupy the position of guests.’ On this, one half of those who had entered went away, and the other half remained.

Hsü Tien next raised his horn, and proclaimed, ‘Are you fond of learning without being tired? are you fond of the rules of propriety, and unswerving in your adherence to them? Do those of you who are eighty, ninety, or one hundred, expound the way of virtue without confusion or error? If so, you can occupy the position of visitors.’ Thereupon hardly any remained.

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