Different from fables and parables, teaching stories have meaning at many levels, and have been used as a tool for spiritual instruction in many wisdom traditions. Now they are also finding use in psychotherapy and education
Duke Mu of Chin said to Po Lo: “You are now advanced in years. Is there any member of your family whom I could employ to look for the horses in your stead?” Po Lo replied: “A good horse can be picked out by its general build and appearance. But the superlative horse—one that raises no dust and leaves no tracks—is something evanescent and fleeting, elusive as thin air. My sons can tell a good horse when they see one, but they cannot tell a superlative horse. I have a friend, however, Chiu-fang Kao, a hawker, who in things appertaining to horses is nowise my inferior. Pray see him.” Duke Mu did so, and subsequently dispatched him on the quest for a steed. Three months later, Kao returned with the news that he had found one. “What kind of a horse is it?” asked the Duke. “Oh, it is a dun coloured mare,” was the reply. However, the animal turned out to be a coal-black stallion! Much displeased, the Duke sent for Po Lo. “That friend of yours cannot even distinguish a beast’s colour or sex! What on earth can he know about horses?” Po Lo heaved a sigh of satisfaction. “Has he really got as far as that?” he cried. “Ah, then he is worth ten thousand of me put together. What Kao keeps in view is the spiritual mechanism. In making sure of the essential, he forgets the homely details. So clever a judge of horses is Kao, that he has it in him to judge something better than horses.” When the horse arrived, it turned out indeed to be a superlative animal.
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