Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/249

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CAP. XVII.]
215
Autumn Floods

exhausted all the arguments that were brought against me. I thought that I had indeed reached the goal. But now that I have heard Chuang Tzŭ, I am lost in astonishment at his grandeur. I know not whether it is in arguing or in knowledge that I am not equal to him. I can no longer open my mouth. May I ask you to impart to me the secret?"

Kung Tzŭ Mou leant over the table and sighed. Then he looked up to heaven, and smiling replied, saying, "Have you never heard of the frog in the old well?—The frog said to the turtle of the eastern sea, 'Happy indeed am I! I hop on to the rail around the well. I rest in the hollow of some broken brick. Swimming, I gather the water under my arms and shut my mouth. I plunge into the mud, burying my feet and toes; and not one of the cockles, crabs, or tadpoles I see around me are my match. [Fancy pitting the happiness of an old well against all the water of Ocean!] Why do you not come, Sir, and pay me a visit?'

"Now the turtle of the eastern sea had not got its left leg down ere its right had already stuck fast, so it shrank back and begged to be excused. It then described the sea, saying, 'A thousand li would not measure its breadth, nor a thousand fathoms its depth. In the days of the Great Yü, there were nine years of flood out of ten; but this did not add to its bulk. In the days of T'ang, there were seven years out of eight of drought; but this did not narrow its span. Not to be affected by duration of