Confucius edited this collection of poems which contains a poem about “Yellow Birds” who ravenously eat the crops of the local people, thus alienating them completely (520 BC)


Found in The Shi King, the Old “Poetry Classic” of the Chinese

In the ancient Chinese collection of poems known as the Shih King, probably edited by Confucius, there is a touching verse which laments the ravenous yellow birds in a foreign land where they are not welcomed:

Yellow birds, yellow birds! Do not crowd the tree-tops; Come not pecking our crops.— From the folk of this land We unwelcoming win; Up, let us return To our country and kin.

The “yellow birds” who have entered a foreign land and are not welcomed by the local population because they eat the crops, the mulberries, the maize, and the corn. The reason the birds entered this other country so far from their families and kin is not made clear but it could be a reference to foreign troops who invade another country and who live off the land and thus alienate the very people they came to help or to conquer.