Recorder Sū Predicts That Lord Xiàn’s Attack Upon the Lí Róng
Will Be Victorious But Unlucky
Summary: Recorder Sū interprets the tortoise shell and predicts an unlucky victory over the Lí Róng.
Lord Xiàn wins his victory, makes Lí Jī (a captured Róng maiden) his consort, and scoffs at the
prediction of ill luck. In a discussion with a few other officers, Recorder Sū predicts that Lí Jī
will destroy Jìn, just as Méi Xī, Dá J , and Bāo Sì destroyed the Xià, Shāng, and Western Zhōu.
Guō Y n, however, predicts that the disorders created by Lí Jī, though severe, will not result in
the destruction of Jìn. He turns out to be correct.
had a divination made concerning his attack upon the Lí Róng ì
interpreted the signs and said, “It will be victorious but unlucky.”
“How do you explain that?” asked Lord Xiàn.
“The omen we have obtained,” he replied, “goes as follows: ‘Pressed tight, a bone
carried in the mouth, the molars and incisors all at odds.’ The Róng and the Xià
other, meaning that both will be victorious—that is why it is worded thus. The mouth is to be
feared. Some people will be carried back, and the state will have a change of heart because of it.”
“How could a mouth have anything to do with it!” exclaimed Lord Xiàn. “Mouths
depend on me. Who will dare advocate what I do not accept?”
“If the carrying back is accomplished,” answered Recorder Sū, “there will be a gladly
welcomed arrival. If mouths speak well and their nature is not known, how can they be stopped?”
Lord Xiàn did not heed this warning, but attacked and conquered the Lí Róng. He
captured Lí Jī ì
, brought her back, and bestowed great favor on her, making her his chief
consort. He held a wine banquet for his officers at which he had the master of ceremonies fill
Recorder Sū’s goblet and said, “I shall have you drink, but not partake of delicacies. You
Prince Gu Zhū
, the son of Jìn W -gōng. He reigned from 676 to 652.
A branch of the Western Róng who lived in the vicinity of Lí mountain ì
. Their chief was a baron
ì ) and bore the royal surname Jī ì .
“The Xià” refers to the central states, including especially Jìn.