It has been seen above that Sze-mâ Khien expressly ascribes the Book called 'the Robber Kih' to Kwang-dze. Khien refers also in another place to Kih, adducing the facts of his history in contrast with those about Confucius' favourite disciple Yen Hui as inexplicable on the supposition of a just and wise Providence. We must conclude therefore that the Book existed in Khien's time, and that he had read it. On the other hand it has been shown that Confucius could not have been on terms
of friendship with Liû-hsiâ Kî, and all that is related of his brother the robber wants substantiation. That such a man ever existed appears to me very doubtful. Are we to put down the whole of the first paragraph then as a jeu d'esprit on the part of Kwang-dze, intended to throw ridicule on Confucius and what our author considered his pedantic ways? It certainly does so, and we are amused to hear the sage outcrowed by the robber.
In the other two paragraphs we have good instances of Kwang-dze's 'metaphorical expressions,' his coinage of names for his personages, more or less ingeniously indicating their characters; but in such cases the element of time or chronology does not enter; and it is the anachronism of the first paragraph which constitutes its chief difficulty.
The name of 'Robber Kih' may be said to be a coinage; and that a famous robber was popularly indicated by the name appears from its use by Mencius (III, ii, ch. 10, 3), to explain which the commentators have invented the story of a robber so-called in the time of Hwang-Tî, in the twenty-seventh century B. C.! Was there really such a legend? and did Kwang-dze take advantage of it to apply the name to a notorious and disreputable brother of Liû-hsiâ Kî? Still there remain the anachronisms in the paragraph which have been pointed out. On the whole we must come to a conclusion rather unfavourable to the genuineness of the Book. But it must have been forged at a very early time, and we have no idea by whom.