Li Erh spoke to the Guard of the West Gate:
No kingdom falls but it first loses heart.
All kingdoms there have ever been have fallen.
Those still around today but wait their turn.
One disaster does not fell a kingdom.
Three together never fail to do so.
War, Famine, Pest: three brothers fight as one.
When two appear, the third is never far.
When brother fights brother, good men don’t rule.
But eagerly the rogue accepts high office.
He cares not if the ship of fools goes down.
He gorges in the galley as it sinks.
That is why I journey to the West.
Maybe it will stand a few more years.
Bees and sparrows have no need of men.
But Man has untold need of bees and sparrows.