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:

惠子相梁,莊子往見之。或謂惠子曰:「莊子來,欲代子相。」於是惠子恐,搜於國中三日三夜。

  莊子往見之,曰:「南方有鳥,其名為鵷鶵,子知之乎?夫鵷鶵,發於南海而飛於北海,非梧桐不止,非練實不食,非醴泉不飲。於是鴟得腐鼠,鵷鶵過之,仰而視之曰:『嚇!』今子欲以子之梁國而嚇我邪?」

Cheers,
Paul

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