Classical Chinese philosophy and stories: Cheating (滥竽充数)

By | July 10, 2013

In ancient State of Qi, the King Xuan loved music very much. He especially like the performance of an ancient musical instrument called Yu (竽), and he had 300 musicians who were good at playing Yu (竽). The King Xuan like great scenes and he always asked the 300-musician team to play Yu for him at the same time.

A man called Mr. Nan Guo heard this habit of the King Xuan, he went to the King Xuan and said: “My Lord, I am a famous musician, anyone who heard me blow Yu will be moved, birds will dance”. King Xuan was pleased to hear this, without investigation, he was happy to accept him into the 300-musician team.

In fact, Mr. Nan Guo told a lie, he simply did not know how to play Yu. In each play, he just did the shaking of his body following others, looked like he was enjoying the music.

But this did not last long, and after a few years, King Xuan died and his son Qimin claimed the throne. The king of Qimin also loved to hear music played by Yu, but he was a bit different from his father, he did not like the noisy blowing by 300 people and preferred solo. Thus the king of Qimin issued a command, to request the 300 people to prepare solo. When most musicians started actively practicing and wanted to show their abilities, only Mr. Nanguo was anxious like an ant. Without any solutions, Mr. Nanguo packed the night and fled.

Only people with trained skills and excellent capabilities can withstand all tests.

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