13.4

Fan Chi asked Confucius about farming.

Confucius replied, “Why don’t you go ask an old farmer?”

Fan Chi asked Confucius about growing vegetables.

Confucius replied, “Why don’t you go ask an old gardener?”

Fan Chi left, and Confucius said, “What a simple-minded person Fan Chi is! If the people in charge love ritual, the people wouldn’t dare to be irreverent. If the people in charge love righteousness, then the people wouldn’t dare to be disobedient. If the people in charge loved being true to their word, then the people wouldn’t dare to be two-faced.

“If you govern this way, the people would come flocking to you, carrying their babies on their backs. Why worry about agriculture?”