Chuang Tzu with his bamboo pole
was fishing in the Pu river.
The prince of Chu sent two vice-chancellors with a formal document: We hereby appoint you prime minister.
Chuang Tzu held his bamboo pole still. Watching the Pu river, he said: “I am told there is a sacred tortoise offered and canonized three thousand years ago, venerated by the prince, wrapped in silk, in a precious shrine on an altar in the temple. What do you think? Is it better to give up one’s life and leave a sacred shell as an object of cult in a cloud of incense for three thousand years, or to live as a plain turtle dragging its tail in the mud?”
“For the turtle”, said the vice-chancellor, “better to live and drag its tail in the mud!”
“Go home!”, said Chuang Tzu. “Leave me here to drag my tail in the mud.”
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