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MinnowsZhuangzi knew about the happiness of fish, but Huizi’s skepticism only gets him circular answers.


Funny story of the famous Chinese philosopher’s clever rejoinders...

Previous TaleTown Story: The Wolf And The Lamb

"Jignesh has invited me to his house tomorrow," Josh was excited. "His mom's going to pick me up after school."

"Where is his house?" asked Rosh.

"Just across the road from Sam's," Josh answered.

"And where is Sam's house?" asked Rosh.

"Just across the road from Jignesh," Josh answered.

"And where are both their houses?" Rosh asked.

"Just across the road from each other," came his reply.

"Okay Zhuangzi," Rosh conceded. "I'll ask your Ma."

"Zhuang Zhou?" Josh paused, paying attention now.

"Chuang Tzu," Rosh nodded, and continued, "the great Chinese thinker and Zen Buddhist philosopher who lived over two millennia ago. There is a famous Asian story about Zhuangzi."

"He and Huizi were once walking along the dam of the Hao Waterfall. It was a beautiful sunny day. Cute little freshwater fish jumped around in the dam's clear waters."

"Those minnows," Zhuangzi commented, "jumping out of the water and darting around where they please. They're really enjoying themselves."

"You're not a fish," Huizi argued. "How do you know what the fish enjoy?"

"You're not me," Zhuangzi said. "How do you know I don't know what the fish enjoy?"

"I'm not you. So I certainly don't know what you know," Huizi retorted. "But you're not a fish. So you certainly don't know what the fish enjoy!"

"Didn't you ask me just now," Zhuangzi asked, "how I knew what the fish enjoy?"

"Yeah," answered Huizi.

"So you already knew, that I knew, when you asked the question," replied Zhuangzi, as he walked away.

"I don't get it, Pa," little Josh was perplexed.

"I didn't get it either," replied Rosh, "when you told me where your friend lived. But I knew, that you knew."

"Did he really know whether the fish were happy, then?" Josh asked, still not getting it.

"He really knew," nodded Rosh, "that the fish were happy."

Then he got up, and walked away too.

Next TaleTown Story: How Do Eggs Form?

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