14 Jun Happiness lessons from the Tao (No. 3)
Another happiness related story from our eNewsletter series…lessons from the tao
In the state of Ch_ã_u, a housebreaker became a soldier under the General Tzu-fa, a man known for utilising the abilities of others to a remarkable degree. A short while later Ch_ã_u was attacked by the army of the state of Ch_ã_i. Tzu-fa_ã_s men went out to counter the attack, but were driven back three times. The Ch_ã_u strategists exhausted their minds while the enemy forces grew stronger.
At that point, the housebreaker stepped forward and asked for a chance to work for the defence of Ch_ã_u. The General granted his request.
That night, the housebreaker sneaked into the Ch_ã_i camp, entered the general_ã_s tent, and removed the curtains from the bed. Tzu-fa sent these back the next morning by special envoy, with a note which explained that they had been found by some men who were out gathering firewood.
The following morning the housebreaker removed the Ch_ã_i general_ã_s pillow. The next morning, it was returned with a message like the first.
On the third night, the housebreaker removed the general_ã_s jade hairpin. It was returned the next morning.
That day, the Ch_ã_i general called his officers together. _ã–One more night,_ã he warned them, _ã–and it will be my head!_ã The troops were ordered to break camp and to return home.
So there is no such thing as an ability that is too useless, too crooked, or too small. It only depends on what you do with it. As Lao-tse pointed out, the bad can be raw material for the good.