Fulsome praise

Confucius asked Gongming Jia about Gongshu Wenzi: “Is it true that your master never spoke, laughed, nor took anything?” Gongming Jia replied: “Whoever told you this exaggerated. My master spoke, but only at the right time, and so no one ever thought he spoke too much; he laughed, but only when he was happy, and so no one ever thought that he laughed too much; he took things, but only when it was right, and so no one ever thought that he took too much.” Confucius said: “How commendable! Assuming of course it is true.”

Gongshu Wenzi was a high official of the state of Wei (魏國). Gongming Jia must have been a close friend or loyal retainer of his given the fulsome praise that he heaps on Gongshu.

Perhaps a little too fulsome. No wonder Confucius finds it difficult to believe that he is telling the truth.

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