Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/329

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CAP. XXIII.]
295
Kêng Sang Ch’u

in shame, at which his disciples were astonished. But Kêng Sang said, "What cause have you for astonishment? The influence of spring quickens the life of plants, and autumn brings them to maturity. In the absence of any agent, how is this so? It is the operation of Tao.

"I have heard that the perfect man may be pent up like a corpse in a tomb, yet the people will become unartificial and without care.

So powerful will be his influence.

But now these poor people of Wei-lei wish to exalt me among their wise and good. Surely then I am but a shallow vessel; and therefore I was shamed for the doctrine of Lao Tzŭ."

The disciples said, "Not so. In a sixteen-foot ditch a big fish has not room to turn round; but 'tis the very place for an eel. On a six or seven-foot hillock a large beast finds no shelter, while the uncanny fox gladly makes its lair therein. Besides, ever since the days of Yao and Shun it has always been customary to honour the virtuous, advance the able, give precedence to the good and useful. Why not then among the people of Wei-lei? Let them do it, Sir."

"Come here, my children," said Kêng Sang Ch’u. "A beast big enough to swallow a cart, if it wanders alone from the hills, will not escape the sorrow of the snare. A fish big enough to gulp down a boat, if stranded on the dry shore will become a prey to ants. Therefore it is that birds and beasts