One year it did not rain for a long time in the State of Qi, and there was an extremely severe drought.
Jing Gong, the King of Qi, was very worried.
He wanted to offer sacrifices to the mountain deity to pray for rain.
His prime minister Yan Zi said to him:"Your Majesty, don't do that.
It is no use to beg the mountain deity for mercy.
The stones in the mountains are like his bones and sinews;
the soil in the mountains is like his muscle; the grass and trees in the mountains ane like his hair.
When it doesn't rain for a long time, the hair of the mountain deity will wither and his muscles will be seared in the sun.
Won't the mountain deity be anxious for rain too?
If he could make it rain, it would have rained long ago."
Jing Gong said: "All right, we won't beg the mountain deity. Then how about begging Hebo (the river deity)?"
"Your Majesty, it's no use either," replied Yan Zi. "
Water is the territory of I-Iebo.
Fish and soft-shelled turtles are his subjects.
When it hasn't rained for a long time, the water in the river will dry up, which means that Hebo will lose his territory;
his subjects like fish and soft-shelled turtles will all die of thirst.
If Hebo could make it rain; it would have rained long ago.
What is the use of praying to Hebo?"
Convinced by Yan Zi's words, Jing Gong no longer prayed to the deities for rain.