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Lee Corrected the King's Mistake by Cutting the Fishing Net


The National Languages of China 1 (403 B.C.-221 B.C.)

The King of Luu, Hsuan, set a fishing net in the deep water of River Syh. Lee cut the net, threw it away and said, "In ancient times, when the peak of winter had passed and the insects that were buried in the earth began to wake up, the officials in the Fishing Department started to use fishing nets and tackle to catch large fish, turtles, and clams. They presented fish in a temple as offerings to the gods. They also taught people to catch and eat fish in order to help the spirit of life increase. When female birds and animals were pregnant and fish had grown to mature size, the agents of the Hunting Department would prohibit the use of nets for capturing birds and rabbits. They would ask people to catch fish with spears and make fish jerky. It helped birds and animals to grow and proliferate! When birds and animals had grown up and fish were reproducing, the officials in the Fishing Department prohibited the use of fishing nets and taught people to set hunting traps. The captured game was used for worshiping ancestors and entertaining guest, and was saved for later consumption. After a tree in a mountain was felled, one was not to cut the twigs newly growing from the stump. In a lake or river, one was not to cut plants until they were mature. When one went fishing, one was not to keep spawn or fry. When hunting animals, one was to let fawns or young elk grow. When hunting birds, one was not to kill baby birds or take eggs from a birdís nest. When catching insects, one was to leave larva alone. The purpose was to let every living being proliferate. This is a lesson passed down from ancient times. Now fish start to spawn. It will be exceedingly greedy if one does not allow fish to grow, but rather captures them with a fishing net."

The king of Luu said, "It is my fault. It is great that Lee corrects my mistake. The fishing net helps me learn a great lesson. I will ask someone to preserve it so that I will not forget Lee's advice." Musician T waiting by the king's side said, "Saving the fishing net is not as good as keeping Lee by your side."



1 Confucius wrote a book on Chinese history, Spring-Fall, based on the official documents of Country Luu. Chiou-Ming Tzuoo wrote two history books. One was Tzuoo's Interpretation of Spring-Fall and the other was The National Languages of China. Two thirds of Yzuoo's two books were the same. The above essay was excerpted and translated from the Chinese version of The National Languages of China. This book is divided into eight parts, recording the history of eight major countries existing in China during Tzuoo's life time. The National Languages of China was written between 403- 221 B.C. It records Chinese history from 1024 B.C. to 403 B.C.