Home Potpourri A Dead Thousand-Li Steed

A Dead Thousand-Li Steed


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In ancient China, a certain king was willing to spend a thousand ounces of gold to buy a thousand-li* steed, but was unable to locate one for three years. “I’d like to go and find one for you!” one of his eunuchs said to him.  The king let him go to find the fine steed.

After searching for three months, the eunuch finally learned of the existence of one such fine horse, but by the time he found the place, the horse had already died.  The eunuch made some quick calculations and finally bought the dead thousand-li horse for five hundred ounces of gold.  He returned to the capital bearing the head of the dead horse.

When the king heard that his eunuch had spent five hundred ounces of his gold to buy the head of a dead horse, he shouted at him: “I wanted to buy a live horse! Why would I want a dead horse’s head for?  You’ve wasted my gold for nothing!”

The eunuch replied calmly, “I bought this head of a dead thousand-li steed with only one intention: to let the world knows that you truly love thousand-li steeds.  When this news has spread, all those who possess thousand-li steeds will naturally gather at your gates.”

Sure enough, the king was able to purchase three thousand-li steeds within the year.

From: Zhan Guo Ge (戰國策, literally means “Strategies of the Warring States) is a renowned ancient Chinese historical work and was compiled between the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE in Ancient China.

*li is an ancient Chinese measure of distance and is approximately 1/3 of a mile.

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I am a Graduate Gemologist trained at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York City, USA. I hold an MBA degree from Cranfield University, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor degree in Mathematics. My earlier profession was a banker until I found jade in Myanmar (Burma) in the early 90s. I have traveled to the fabled Hpakan Jade mines, and Mogok, the world’s famous rubies and sapphires mines in upper Burma, with my second son. Three of my children are also Graduate Gemologist, GIA, NYC and they deal in diamonds, gemstones and jade. 我是在美国纽约市的美国宝石学院(GIA)接受过培训的宝石研究学家。 我拥有英国克兰菲尔德大学的工商管理硕士学位和数学学士学位。我以前的职业是银行家,直到90年代初我在缅甸接触到玉石。我曾经和我的次子一起去过缅甸上流传说中的哈帕翡翠矿山和莫谷矿山, 莫谷矿山是世界上著名的红宝石和蓝宝石矿山。我的三个孩子都是纽约市GIA毕业的宝石研究学家, 他们专门处理钻石,宝石和玉石.


  1. Hello MontyHall

    Thank you again for your support.

    Look out for more articles of jade and other personal stories.

    Your support and comments are always very appreciated


  2. Enjoyed this story!

    Your web site is rich, like a feast with many varied courses. I always learn something and feel good after visiting.

    Thank you.

  3. Yes, there are a lot of good chinese stories. So I think I put this one on as it relates to the marketing aspect of a business. Thank you for your support.

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