Classical Chinese philosophy and stories: Chengzi took a black cloth by force (澄子夺黑衣)

By | July 25, 2013

In the ancient state of Song, a man called Chengzi lost a black coat. He ran along the street looking everywhere to look for a black cloth.

He was so upset for the loss of money caused that he walked along the street and thought about how to make up the loss. A women wearing black cloth happened to come over, then Chengzi seized her and was about to take the woman’s black cloth by force and said “you took my black cloth!” The woman was stunned by what Chengzi behaved, and explained:”this black cloth was woven by myself as well as the cutting and tailoring. It’s size fits me perfectly. The one you loss is not this one!” After saying this, the woman started to cry.

Chengzi was surprised and thought that it will be embarrassing for him to take a woman’s cloth by force and put on a woman’s cloth. Then he changed the topic and said:” what I loss was a coat, yours is a shirt, isn’t it your profit to get a coat with a shirt?”

This parable tells us to respect the fact at any time; despite how cunning one is, the truth cannot be distorted.

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