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Disciples Teach the Master a New Principle

by Trent Walters

Confuscius--winded from a tangle with a Bengali tiger which he had grabbed first by the tail, then the ears, and finally the head before dispatching the beast--was cresting a small rise on his stroll through the metropolitan zoo of Sung. He was decked out in his finest serge and skins, his belly full of acorns and chestnuts. In this pleasantly sated mood, a sight confused Confuscius: Holy men, with rods of chastisement, beat two young men.

"Pray, good sirs," Confuscius inquired of the holy men whom Confuscius belatedly recognized as his own disciples, "explain your behavior."

The disciples, who did not recognize their master, said, "These two brothers were bruising each other in their rough-housing and enjoying themselves. Their motive for doing this--since we do not understand such motives except as outsiders--must be anger and power; therefore, even though Confuscius never forbid such behavior, it is wrong and should be punished."

Confuscius' puzzled expression cleared, and he nodded. "You were quite correct to do so. Please, allow me to examine your rods of chastisement, They look impressive." When they handed them over, Confuscius whirled them through the air until they sang. "Yes, they are impressive." He handed the rods to the brothers. "Please, at your discretion, use these on the holy men, for clearly these rods were meant to be wielded on those who revel in anger and power."

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