The Phoenix & The Owl

~ Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly (or a butterfly dreaming of Zhuangzi)

One day, Zhuang Zi went to see Hui Zi, who was appointed Minister of the State of Liang. Someone suggested to Hui Zi that Zhuang Zi might harbor some ulterior motive in coming. Hui Zi started to worry, and he sent his men to arrest Zhuang Zi. Zhuang Zi was then brought before Hui Zi. “Why have you come to see me?” asked Hui Zi.

“I have actually come to tell you a story,” said Zhuang Zi. “Have you heard of the Young Phoenix? It arises in the South and flies to the North, and it never rests on anything except the begonia tree, and never drinks from anything except from springs of the sweetest water. Once, it passed over an owl which was devouring a rotten rat. Alarmed and afraid that the Young Phoenix was going to steal away its meal, the owl began squawking loudly, unaware that the Young Phoenix had no interest whatsoever in the rotten rat. Now, are you like this owl?” Zhuang Zi finished his story with a question.

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