During the Spring and Autumn Period, a Shi family in the State of Lu had two sons. One of them studied liberal arts and the other martial arts.
The son who studied liberal arts went to the State of Qi to advocate his doctrines, which were well received by the Lord of Qi. The Lord appointed him Tai Fu (one of the three highest officials to teach several princes of the State of Lu.
The son who studied martial arts went to the State of Chu to tell the King of Chu his own military strategies. The King of Chu gladly asked him to stay to help administer military and political affairs.
The two sons of the Shi family achieved success and fame, brought honour to their ancestors, and the whole family enjoyed high position and enormous wealth.
The next-door family, the Meng family, also had two sons. They learned liberal arts and martial arts in the same way, but remained poor and frustrated.
The Meng family was envious of the Shi family’s achievements, and visited them to ask about the ways of winning promotion and getting rich. The two sons of the Shi family told the Meng family their experiences as they were.