## 致富妙法

You have a red bag

There lived a rich man named Guo in the State of Qi and a poor man named Xiang in the State of Song.

The poor man came to the State of Qi to visit the rich man, and asked him about the way to get rich.

The rich man in the State of Qi told him: "I was also very poor before, but now I am quite well-off. The only reason is that I can steal and rob. But it is very painstaking1. By stealing and robbing, I could make a living in the first year, and in the second year I had more than enough to eat and wear. In the third year, my family's storehouse was truly filled with grain and millet2."

The man of Song only heard him talk profusely3 about stealing and robbing, but did not find out clearly how to steal and rob. The minute he returned home, he got dizzy with imagined success and started to steal and rob.

As soon as it was dark, he climbed over the wall of the family on the east, and dug a hole in the wall of the family on the west. He stole whatever he saw. After some time, his family actually began getting rich. But just when he was immensely proud of himself, the bailiffs from the yamen (government office) came and arrested him. He was declared guilty and put in prison. All the things he had stolen and robbed, together with his own old and worn-out stuff, were confiscated4.

As soon as the thief was released upon completion of his prison term, he went to Guo's home in the State of Qi to blame him. The rich man asked him in haste: "How are you doing?"

The thief told him what had happened and sighed: "I am now even poorer than before."

The rich man was astonished at first, then said regretfully: "How can you be in reduced circumstances? Alas5, you completely misunderstood what I meant by stealing and robbing."

He continued: "By stealing and robbing, I meant seeking for the resources of the earth, and racing6 against the seasons of the heavens. Dense7 forests, broad land, sunshine, rain and dew8, wind and cloud, all these are my targets for robbing. I approach them, make friends with them, and rely on them to plant crops and build houses. Birds in the sky, beasts on land, fish and shrimp9 in the river…all these don't belong to me by nature. But I, fearing neither hardship nor toil10, use my brains and think up ways to steal them and rob them. This is stealing and robbing in an open and aboveboard way. It is by no means committing a crime. As to the clothing, food and articles of individuals, they are obtained through people's own labour, and can only belong to these people. I have never encouraged you to steal and rob other people's private property. But you have actually done so, which does break the law. Who is to blame for your being found guilty and put in prison?"

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