King Hui of Ch’u, when eating salad, found a leech upon his plate, and forthwith swallowed it. He thereupon felt a pain in his stomach, and could eat nothing.
On his premier asking him, how he had got this disease, he replied: — “Eating salad, I found a leech, I thought that, if I scolded those responsible for it, but did not punish them, I would disregard the law, and not keep up my dignity. Therefore, I could not allow my subjects to get wind of the matter. Had I, on the other hand, reproved and chastised the defaulters, strict law would have required the death of all the cooks and butlers. To that I could not make up my mind. Fearing, lest my attendants should perceive the leech, 1 promptly swallowed it.”
The premier rose from his seat, bowed twice, and congratulated the king, saying, ” I have been told that Heaven is impartial, and that virtue alone is of any avail. You have benevolence and virtue, for which Heaven will reward you. Your sickness will do you no great harm.”
The same evening, when the king withdrew, the leech came out, and an ailment of the heart and stomach of which he had been suffering for a long while, was cured at the same time.