Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Dead Horse and Talents

During the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), the State of Yan was defeated by the State of Qi. When King Zhao was crowned as the king of Yan, he was determined to make his state strong to remove the humiliation. Yet he complained that he did not have real talents to assist him.

One day, he said to Guo Wei, a minister, "Can you tell me how I can get great talents?" Guo Wei replied by telling a story.

"Once there was a king who offered hundreds of ounces of gold for a winged steed, a horse which can run 500 kilometers a day. He sent one of his men to search through the country but the man only brought back a pile of bones of a dead steed for half of the gold. The king got outraged.

But the man said, 'When people learn that you have paid so much for a dead horse, they will certainly offer to sell you a steed if anyone has got one.' As was expected, the king got three steeds in less than a year. If you are sincerely seeking top talents, why don't you treat me as a dead horse of that sort now?"

King Zhao did build Guo Wei a very expensive villa and regarded him as a teacher. Also he built a platform on which he placed a lot of presents for guests from different parts. Soon his sincerity was spread to every corner of the land. In a couple of years, great talents such as Ju Xin, Su Dai, Zou Yan, Le Yi all came from different states to gather around King Zhao. Very soon, with the assistance of them, Yan became a powerful state and defeated Qi. King Zhao accomplished his dream of revenge.

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