The Story of Mr. Nanguo
During the Warring States period, King Xuan of the State of Qi liked to listen to the great ensemble of yu, so he ordered the musician to organize a large band of 300 people to play yu. There was a Mr. Nan Guo in the state of Qi, who was neither learned nor skilled, and he cheated money by gambling with cockfights. On that day, when he heard that King Xuan of Qi was recruiting 300 musicians to play yu, Nan Guo applied for the job with a twinkle in his eye and got into the band by virtue of his uncanny tongue. But he did not know how to play yu at all, so in order to keep his yu from making a sound, he secretly plugged the mouth of the yu with beans and pretended to “play” in the orchestra. The three hundred musicians played in unison with great grandeur and the king was very pleased. Mr. Nan Guo is also a good flatterer, and is praised by King Xuan. However, his good fortune is not long in coming when King Xuan of Qi dies and King Min of Qi succeeds him. The new king likes to listen to solo performances, so the musicians recommend Mr. Nan Guo to perform. When he heard this, Nan Guo was so frightened that he trembled, and the beans he had stuffed in his yu fell out, revealing his true form. King Min of Qi was furious and said, “What a mess! The same day, Mr. Nan Guo fled the scene.