A superior man may be imposed on by what seems to be as it ought to be

Some one sent a present of a live fish to Tsze-ch’an of Chang (郑子产).

Tsze-ch’an ordered his pond-keeper to keep it in the pond, but that officer cooked it, and reported the execution of his commission, saying, “When I first let it go, it embarrassed. In a little while, it seemed to be somewhat at ease, then it swam away joyfully.” Tsze-ch’an observed, “It had got into its element! It had got into its element!”

The pond-keeper then went out and said, “Who calls Tsze-ch’an a wise man? After I had cooked and eaten the fish, he says, “It had got into its element! It had got into its element!”

Thus a superior man may be imposed on by what seems to be as it ought to be, but he cannot be entrapped by what is contrary to right principle.

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