The Duke of Shan, the Duke of Chou

The Duke of Shan criticized the Duke of Chou for the behavior of the inhabitants of that state.  “The men of Chou are mean-spirited and resentful.  If anyone wrongs a man of Chou he never forgets.  He will sacrifice everything — honor, riches, family, piety — to do harm to him who harmed him.  What a burden to the kingdom of heaven are the men and women of Chou!”

The Duke of Chou criticized the Duke of Shan.  “The inhabitants of the state of Shan are more like dirt than like men.  Abuse them and they will come back for more.  Enslave them and they will struggle to see who can be the most obsequious.  There has never been a straight thing said or a pure song sung within borders of the state of Shan!”

After a war the state of Shan conquered the state of Chou.  For several generations the state of Shan imposed harsh penalties upon its subjects in Chou.  Any man who was found guilty of revenge was made subject to the penalty of three generations.  He, his siblings, his parents, and all of their children were killed.  By dint of this selective breeding in a few centuries all was peacable in the state of Shan-Chou.

The peacable kingdom of Shan-Chou was conquered by the barbarians known as Hsiung-nu.  The entire state of Shan-Chou then revealed its secret — although no particular inhabitant of the state was motivated by revenge, the state as a whole was capable of implacable vengeance.

Now no one even remembers the names of the barbarians known in the language of Shan-Chou as Hsiung-nu.


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