The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. "All men," they said, "have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn't have any. Let's trying boring him some!"When we try to force round pegs into square holes, we destroy both the pegs AND the holes.
Every day they bored another hole, and on the seventh day Hun-tun died.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.