Thursday, August 6, 2009

Are you trying to shoo me?

Hi André,

Here's the text of the phoenix and the owl, in Burton Watson's well known translation:

When Hui Tzu was prime minister of Liang, Chuang Tzu set off to visit him. Someone said to Hui Tzu, "Chuang Tzu is coming because he wants to replace you as prime minister!" With this Hui Tzu was filled with alarm and searched all over the state for three days and three nights trying to find Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu then came to see him and said, "In the south there is a bird called the Yuan-ch'u - I wonder if you've ever heard of it? The Yuan-ch'u rises up from the South Sea and flies to the North Sea, and it will rest on nothing but the Wu-t'ung tree, eat nothing but the fruit of the Lien, and drink only from springs of sweet water. Once there was an owl who had gotten hold of a half-rotten old rat, and as the Yuan-ch'u passed by, it raised its head, looked up at the Yuan-ch'u, and said, `Shoo!' Now that you have this Liang state of yours, are you trying to shoo me?"

Burton Watson, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Columbia University Press, 1968, p. 188.

Here's the text in Chinese: