Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/279

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Mountain Trees.

Argument:—The alternatives of usefulness and uselessness—Tao a tertium quid—The human a hindrance to the divine—Altruism—Adaptation—Destiny—Illustrations.

[This chapter is supplementary to chapter iv.]

CHUANG TZŬ was travelling over a mountain when he saw a huge tree well covered with foliage. A woodsman had stopped near by, not caring to take it; and on Chuang Tzŭ enquiring the reason, he was told that it was of no use.

"This tree," cried Chuang Tzŭ, "by virtue of being good for nothing succeeds in completing its allotted span."

When Chuang Tzŭ left the mountain, he put up at the house of an old friend. The latter was delighted, and ordered a servant to kill a goose and cook it.

"Which shall I kill?" enquired the servant; "the one that cackles or the one that doesn't?"

His master told him to kill the one which did not cackle. And accordingly, the next day, a disciple asked Chuang Tzŭ, saying, "Yesterday, that tree on the mountain, because good for nothing, was to succeed in completing its allotted span. But now,