If the one who does no wrong
Follows one who does,
He himself will be suspected of evil
And his reputation will decline.
According to the friends one makes,
According to who one follows,
So does one become.
Like one's associates one becomes.
Follower and following,
Contacter and contacted alike,
An arrow smeared with poison
Infects those arrows that are not poisoned,
So that all are fouled.
The upright person not wishing to be soiled
Should not keep company with the fool.
If one strings a piece of putrid fish
On a blade of kusa grass,
The grass will smell putrid too;
The same with one who follows the fool.
If one wraps tagara
In an ordinary leaf,
The leaf will soon smell sweet too;
The same with one who follows the wise.
Remembering the example of the leaf wrapping
And understanding the results,
One should seek companionship with the wise,
Never with the fool.