Lao Tzu said, “My judgement will come from my wisdom. Your judgements cannot be adjusted to my judgements.” The emperor remained stubborn.
The first case came. A thief was caught red-handed in the richest man’s house. Lao Tzu listened to both the sides, pondered for a moment and then gave his verdict: “Both of you, you and the man whose house has been rolled, are criminals. The rich man has collected so much money that almost 50 per cent of the wealth of the city is in his possession. This situation creates the possibility of stealing. This thief is in fact a victim; you are the criminal. But I will be just: six months of jail for both.”
The emperor said, “This is a very strange judgement.”
Lao Tzu said, “It is not. If people were living in harmony with nature, if people were compassionate to each other, if they felt a certain brotherhood with each other, how could there be rich people and poor people? There should only be people.”