Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chapter 30, Part D - Chuang Tzu

Chuang Tzu said, "The wielder of the sword makes a display of emptiness, draws one out with hopes of advantage, is behind-time in setting out, but beforehand in arriving. May I be allowed to try what I can do?"

The king said, "You may leave now, Sir, and go to your quarters to await my command. When I am ready to hold the bout, I will request your presence again."

The king then spent seven days testing the skill of his swordsmen. Over sixty were wounded or died in the process, leaving five or six survivors who were ordered to present themselves with their swords outside the king's hall. Then the king sent for Chuang Tzu, saying, "Today let us see what happens when you cross swords with these gentlemen."

Chuang Tzu said, "It is what I have long wished for."

"What weapon will you use, Sir," asked the king, "a long sword or a short one?"

"I am prepared to use any type at all. It happens that I have three swords - Your Majesty has only to indicate which you wish me to use. If I may, I will first explain them, and then put them to the test."

"Let me hear about your three swords," said the king.
~ Burton Watson translation via Terebess Asia Online ~
Go here to read the introductory post to the chapters of the Book of Chuang Tzu.

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