hidden dragon

This line is in a chapter that draws a connection between the underlying principles of nature and the ruler’s ability to effectively manage their kingdom. The meaning of this line is that nature’s fiercest creatures are adapted to live in certain places and that they must be in those places in order to use their strength. The lesson to be drawn is that talented individuals must be given work that is well suited to their strengths, otherwise their talents will go to waste.

img src=spoon-tamago

Dragon Carvings

This article contains a translation of a passage from the Garden of Stories and an examination of the symbolism it contains.


This is the second of a two part series about confucian ideas in the Garden of Stories. In my previous post I translated a passage about famous rulers from the Warring States period who demonstrated wisdom through three different fears. In this post I present passage where a famous advisor and diplomat, Yan Ying, gives the duke of Qi a lesson about omens.


One day duke Jing of Qi went out hunting. He saw a tiger when he was up in the mountains and he saw a snake when he was down in the swamp. Upon his return he called upon master Yan and said to him:

“Today I went out hunting. On the mountain I saw a tiger and in the swamp I saw a snake. Should I consider this a bad omen?”

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