Chinese Fables—The Duke of Lu Raising a Bird

This fable is adapted from "Zhuangzi - Perfect Enjoyment" written over two thousand years ago in China. The Duke of Lu believed that he could raise a bird by imposing his own lifestyle on it rather than using proper bird-raising methods. However, this approach not only failed to benefit the seabird's growth but also subjected it to torment, leading to its demise. This story illustrates the importance of following the natural order of things and refraining from acting recklessly.

Original article: 魯侯養鳥

A long time ago, a seabird flew to the outskirts of the capital city of the State of Lu and perched on a branch of a tree. The ruler of Lu, the Duke of Lu, had a special fondness for rare things. So when he saw this seabird, he became extremely delighted, believing it was a rare bird that was seen once in a blue moon. He ordered his subordinates to welcome and keep the bird in the imperial ancestral temple of Lu.

"I must use the most special methods to care for this rare bird that has come to us. I want it to live happily here!" the Duke of Lu thought joyfully.

Chinese Fables—The Duke of Lu Raising a Bird

Thus, the Duke of Lu provided the bird with feasts consisting of the finest offerings of beef, lamb, and pork, and he even arranged for the court musicians to play grand imperial music to entertain the bird.

Unfortunately, the seabird couldn't enjoy the Duke of Lu's enthusiastic hospitality whatsoever. It felt terrified, dizzy, and overwhelmed, filled with sorrow and sadness. It didn't dare to eat a single piece of meat or take a sip of wine. Three days later, the seabird died in the imperial ancestral temple.

Chinese Fables—The Duke of Lu Raising a Bird

Children, please continue reading another story:

"Once upon a time, there was a seed, and everyone believed that it could grow the most beautiful flower in the world. So the king ordered the entire nation to help find this magical seed. Finally, the king obtained the seed and used pearls for soil, watering it with meat soup as fertilizer every day. After a while, instead of sprouting, the seed resulted in a pot full of dirty pearls. The king became angry and threw away the seed. Soon after, a wealthy man found the seed. He broke precious porcelain to use as soil and took great care of the seed, but after a long time, there was still no sign of growth. The wealthy man also became angry and discarded the seed. Finally, a farmer found the seed. He planted it in fertile soil, watered it regularly, and provided fertilizer. Before long, a beautiful flower bloomed."

This story carries the same meaning as "the Duke of Lu Raising a Bird." Do you understand the message? Please share it with your parents, teachers, and classmates.

Written by Linlin
Sponsored by Mei-Hua Hall