Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/391

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cap. xxvi.]
357
Contingencies

"The true Sage is a passive agent. If he succeeds, he simply feels that he was provided by no effort of his own with the energy necessary to success."


Prince Yüan of Sung dreamed one night that a man with dishevelled hair peeped through a side door and said, "I have come from the waters of Tsai-lu. I am a marine messenger attached to the staff of the River God. A fisherman, named Yü Ch'ieh, has caught me."

When the prince awaked, he referred his dream to the soothsayers, who said, "This is a divine tortoise."

"Is there any fisherman," asked the prince, "whose name is Yü Ch'ieh?"

Being told there was, the prince gave orders for his appearance at court; and the next day Yü Ch'ieh had an audience.

"Fisherman," said the prince, "what have you caught?"

"I have netted a white tortoise," replied the fisherman, "five feet in semi-circumference."

"Bring your tortoise," said the prince. But when it came, the prince could not make up his mind whether to kill it or keep it alive. Thus in doubt, he had recourse to divination, and received the following response:—

Slay the tortoise for purposes of divination and good fortune will result.

So the tortoise was despatched. After which,