Yang Zi (Yang Zi means Master Yang) named Yang Zhu was a Chinese philosopher during the Warring States Period. An early hedonist, ethical egoist, or sophist alternative to Confucian thought. His stories appear primarily in the articles of Lie Zi and Zhuang Zi. This is one of them.
One year, Yang Zi and his students traveled to state Song. On their way, they passed a night in a country inn, in which Yang Zi noticed that the master of the inn who had two wifes - one beautiful, the other ugly, but to his surprise, the ugly one was favored by both her husband and servants, while the beautiful one was disliked.
Curious of the reason, Yang Zi asked one of the servants, and the little boy replied:" The beauty knows she is pretty, but we don't recognize it. The ugly one knows she is ugly, but we don't recognize it either."
Yang Zi, enlightened by his words, turned to his students and said:" Remember it, my disciples. Act virtuously, and put away the practice of priding yourselves on your virtue. If you do this, you will be loved wherever you go."
Background and Writer Comment:
This story was recorded in both "Huang Di" (A article of Lie Zi) and "The Tree of The Mountain" (Shan Mu, A article of Zhuang Zi).
Though the moral is clearly said in the story, I would still like to add some comment: "Loveliness not because of being pretty, while being pretty is because of loveliness" is undoubtedly true!
Now this story is not very well-known, but it had produced a famous Chinese proverb--"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" or "情人眼里出西施" (qíng rén yǎn lǐ chū xī shī ) in Chinese. 西施 was a beauty in Chinese history.