Sunday, September 2, 2012

Duck on the Rack

Scott Bradley

The duck's legs are short; you can't lengthen them without making her suffer.
The crane's legs are long; you can't shorten them without causing him pain.
What is long needs no cutting off; what is short needs no stretching.
When you realize this, you can let the world go its own way.
Do you think that you know what's best?
Do you think the world should conform to your way of thinking?

(Zhuangzi 8; Mitchell)

"That's right! Scream little duck! Scream until you confess! Turn the crank!"

"Quaaaack! It's true! It's true! Whatever you want to know, it's true!"

"What's true, Shorty?! Turn the crank!"

"Quaaaack! I'm short! I'm short! It's true! It's true!"

"Not good enough, Waddle-meister! Tell us why! Turn the crank!"

"Quaaaack! My legs! My legs are too short!"

"Good start, Feather-duster. But do you promise to change? Turn the crank!"

"Quaaaack! I'll change! I'll change! I'll make my legs long!"

"Good duck! Now thank us for our love in showing you your sins! Thank us for stretching your legs! Turn the crank!"

"Quaaaack! Thank you! Thank you for the pain! Thank you for your love!"

"You're welcome, My Disciple! One more crank to show you who knows best!"


"Ooops! He's dead! Not our fault — he's the one with the short legs. Bring on that crane! And we'll need an axe."

(Inspired by Mitchell's commentary, where he also quotes that great head-lopper, Robespierre: “To make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.”)

We have met the Grand Inquisitor, and he is us.

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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