Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/44

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Chuang Tzŭ

chapped hands was in both cases the same, its application was different. Here, it secured a title; there, a capacity for washing silk.

"Now as to your five-bushel gourd, why did you not make a boat of it, and float about over river and lake? You could not then have complained of its not holding anything! But I fear you are rather woolly inside."

Like it. This, of course, is a sneer. Hui Tzŭ could not see that the greatness of a thing depends upon the greatness of its application.

Hui Tzŭ said to Chuang Tzŭ, "Sir, I have a large tree, of a worthless kind. Its trunk is so irregular and knotty that it cannot be measured out for planks; while its branches are so twisted as to admit of no geometrical subdivision whatever. It stands by the roadside, but no carpenter will look at it. And your words, sir, are like that tree;—big and useless, not wanted by anybody."

"Sir," rejoined Chuang Tzŭ, "have you never seen a wild cat, crouching down in wait for its prey? Right and left it springs from bough to bough, high and low alike,—until perchance it gets caught in a trap or dies in a snare. On the other hand, there is the yak with its great huge body. It is big enough in all conscience, but it cannot catch mice.

The adaptability of a thing is oft-times its bane. The inability of the yak to catch mice saves it from the snare which is fatal to the wild cat.