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The Book of Filial Duty, by Ivan Chen, [1908], at

p. 33


No. I

The Filial Piety that influenced Heaven

Yü Shun, the son of Ku Sou, had an exceedingly filial disposition; his father, however, was stupid, his mother perverse, and his younger brother, Hsiang, very conceited. His actions are related in the Shang Shu, in the Chung Yung, and in the works of Mencius. Those who speak of him say that Shun cultivated the hills of Li (in the province of Shansi), where he had elephants to plough his fields and birds to weed the grain. So widespread was the renown of his virtue that the Emperor Yao heard of him, and sent his nine sons to serve him, and gave to him two of his daughters in marriage, and afterwards resigned to him the imperial dignity.

Of all those whose virtue and filial duty deserve to be illustrated, Shun is pre-eminent; and his example, in obeying his parents, is worthy of being handed down to posterity, through myriads of ages. Once he was in great danger in a well, into which he was commanded by his father to descend, and his brother cast down

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stones upon him; again, he was in a granary, when it was set on fire; but from these, as well as from many other dangers, he escaped unhurt. He fished, burned pottery, ploughed and sowed, with great toil on the hills of Li. He laboriously performed all these duties, but his parents were not affected, while his brother Hsiang became more insolent and overbearing. His parents alleged crimes against him, but Shun could not find that he had done wrong; he loved and revered them, though they did not requite him with affection. His feelings were grieved at these manifold troubles, and with strong crying and tears he invoked Heaven.

His perfect sincerity was effectual to renovate his family; his parents became pleasant, and his brother more conciliatory and virtuous. Heaven also considered his excellency to be great, and regarded him as truly good, thus establishing his reputation so firmly that it was perpetuated to, and influenced, succeeding ages. Even Confucius is regarded as elevated but a little above Shun, and I would praise and extol them both to coming generations.

Next: No. II: Affection shown in tasting Soups and Medicines