Once, when Zhuangzi was fishing in the Pu River, the king of Chu sent two officials to go and announce to him: “I would like to trouble you with the administration of my realm.”
Zhuangzi held on to the fishing pole and, without turning his head, said, “I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise in Chu that has been dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its bone left behind and honored? Or would it rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud?”
“It would rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud,” said the two officials.
Zhuangzi said, “Go away! I’ll drag my tail in the mud!”
—John Minford and Joseph S. M. Lau, eds., Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations (Columbia University Press, 2000), 215.
Homework: Assignment #309
HS150 Global Thinking