Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/40

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Chuang Tzŭ
who succeeded him, may be regarded as the Golden Age of China's history. See p. 8.

wished to abdicate in favour of Hsü Yu,

A worthy hermit.

saying, "If, when the sun and moon are shining, you persist in lighting a torch, is not that a misapplication of fire? If, when the rainy season is at its height, you still continue to water the ground, is not this a waste of labour? Now, sir, do you assume the reins of government, and the empire will be at peace. I am but a dead body, conscious of my own deficiency. I beg you will ascend the throne."

"Ever since you, sire, have directed the administration," replied Hsü Yu, "the empire has enjoyed tranquillity. Supposing, therefore, that I were to take your place now, should I gain any reputation thereby? Besides, reputation is but the shadow of reality; and should I trouble myself about the shadow? The tit, building its nest in the mighty forest, occupies but a single twig. The tapir slakes its thirst from the river, but drinks enough only to fill its belly. To you, sire, belongs the reputation: the empire has no need for me. If a cook is unable to dress his funeral sacrifices, the boy who impersonates the corpse may not step over the wines and meats and do it for him."

This illustrates rejection of reputation by the true Sage. See ch. vii.

Chien Wu said to Lien Shu,

Both fictitious personages.