A great mandarin, known for his “bowing and scraping” before his superiors and for his “arrogance” towards the humble people, one day went to the tailor…
A great mandarin, known for his “bowing and scraping” before his superiors and for his “arrogance” towards the humble people, one day went to the tailor.
“Make me a reception robe” he said to him.

“Would the great mandarin deign to tell me the social position of the visitors that he expects to receive?”

The mandarin frowned.
“What do you need to know all that for?”

“Sir,” said the tailor. “I must know precisely in advance in order to cut a robe which will be of the most use of the great mandarin. If this robe is destined to audiences with superiors it must be shortened by five thumb lengths in front. If on the other hand, it is to be used to receive lesser people, it is the skirt at the back which must be shortened.”

The great mandarin reflected and ordered:
“Make both!”