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- Qin Shi #22
閔子 1
琴史 #22 2
Minzi realizes Confucius is anxious about a cat and mouse 3  
Minzi (born 535 BCE) was a nickname of Min Sun, another disciple of Confucius; he is also called Min Ziqian.4 The Qin Shi essay relates some stories told by a book attributed to #24 Zengzi. For example, Minzi and Zengzi once overheard Confucius playing the qin. Minzi thought the tune changed from light and clear to deep and sad, etc., these expressing a desire for gain. He was right: Confucius had just seen a cat catch a mouse.5

Qin illustration 14 in Taiyin Daquanji is one called Hidden Appearance (Yan Rong6); the accompanying comments say Minzi made it and that he wrote three melodies praising Confucius, Li Dong7, Yun Zhao8 and Tian He.9

Elsewhere he is said to have written Cuizi Du He Cao10 and Can Xing Cao. The latter, a surviving melody also found in Cai Yong's Qin Cao (number 10 of the 12 Laments, concerns dreaming he saw an animal that looked like a fox (or raccoon) without a head.

The original Qin Shi essay begins as follows.11

Min Ziqian had the given name Sun. He was noted for his filial nature....

Translation incomplete.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Minzi
42154.46 閔損 Min Sun; may also be called 閔子騫 Min Ziqian (Minzi Qian?) or simply Ziqian.

2. 10 lines

3. Image: Minzi realizes Confucius is anxious about a cat and mouse (expand)
From a reprint of a collection of Qing dynasty prints illustrating the life of Confucius: Minzi listens as Confucius plays with a cat to his left and a mouse on the floor; for the story see below.

4. 閔子騫 Min Ziqian (Minzi Qian?)

5. Minzi, Confucius, and the cat (or fox) catching a rat
As for this cat (or fox) and mouse story, the ability of Minzi to realize from Confucius' qin play that he was anxious is also mentioned in such sources as 孔叢子 Kong Congzi (see Qinshu Daquan, Folio 16, #27) and Han Shi Waizhuan (ibid., Folio 16, #31). The cat and mouse version also had a modern re-telling in a booklet from the English Service of China Radio International (Q & A on China, Vol.3, July 2004, p.36, "What is the Guqin?").

A similar story but involving insects has Cai Yong recognizing that someone playing qin wants there to be killing , but it turns out the player was hoping a praying mantis would catch a cicada and thereby stop the latter's annoying sound.

6. 掩容 Yan Rong; Xinkan Taiyin Daquanji calls it 振谷 Zhen Gu, apparently a mistake.

7. 離洞 Li Dong (Verdant Grotto)
43079.xxx; compare Li Dong Yun

8. 雲朝 Yun Chao (Cloud Palace)

9. 天鶴 Tian He (Heavenly Crane)
5961.xxx; 5961.1343 天鶴座 Tianhe zuo is the name of a constellation (compare Yao Tian Sheng He).
Minzi is also said to have written Zhao Tianhe (14705.20xxx zhaotian).

10. 崔子渡河操 Cuizi Du He Cao
Cuizi Du He (8405.9) is attributed to Minzi. Qin Cao, Hejian Zage, #10, says he wrote it after his mother died and his step-mother tried to get rid of him. The title is also included in the Qin Shu, melody list.

11. Original Chinese text
The Chinese original is as follows (N.B. 貓 cat; 鼠 rat):

閔子騫名損,以孝見稱。三年之喪畢,見於孔子,子與之琴使之弦,切切而悲。作而曰:「先王制禮弗敢過也。」子曰:「君子也。」謂其哀未盡而能斷之以禮也。 孔子晝息於室而鼓瑟焉,閔子自外聞之,以告曾子曰:「向也,夫子之音清澈以和,淪入至道。今也更為幽沈之聲,幽則利慾之所為發,沈則貪得之所為施,夫子何所感若是乎?」



Not yet translated


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