Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/234

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CHAPTER XVII.

Autumn Floods.

Argument:—Greatness and smallness always relative—Time and space infinite—Abstract dimensions do not exist—Their expression is concrete—Terms are not absolute—Like causes produce unlike effects—In the unconditioned alone can the absolute exist—The only absolute is Tao—Illustrations.
[This chapter is supplementary to chapter ii. It is the most popular of all, and has earned for its author the sobriquet of "Autumn Floods."]

IT was the time of autumn floods. Every stream poured into the river, which swelled in its turbid course. The banks receded so far from one another that it was impossible to tell a cow from a horse.

Then the Spirit of the River laughed for joy that all the beauty of the earth was gathered to himself. Down with the stream he journeyed east, until he reached the ocean. There, looking eastwards and seeing no limit to its waves, his countenance changed. And as he gazed over the expanse, he sighed and said to the Spirit of the Ocean, "A vulgar proverb says that he who has heard but part of the truth thinks no one equal to himself. And such a one am I.

"When formerly I heard people detracting from