Carpenter Shih went to Ch'i and, when he got to Crooked Shaft, he saw a serrate oak standing by the village shrine. It was broad enough to shelter several thousand oxen and measured a hundred spans around, towering above the hills. The lowest branches were eighty feet from the ground, and a dozen or so of them could have been made into boats. There were so many sightseers that the place looked like a fair, but the carpenter didn't even glance around and went on his way without stopping.Go here to read the introductory post to the chapters of the Book of Chuang Tzu.
His apprentice stood staring for a long time and then ran after Carpenter Shih and said, "Since I first took up my ax and followed you, Master, I have never seen timber as beautiful as this. But you don't even bother to look, and go right on without stopping. Why is that?"
"Forget it - say no more!" said the carpenter. "It's a worthless tree! Make boats out of it and they'd sink; make coffins and they'd rot in no time; make vessels and they'd break at once. Use it for doors and it would sweat sap like pine; use it for posts and the worms would eat them up. It's not a timber tree - there's nothing it can be used for. That's how it got to be that old!"
~ Burton Watson translation via Terebess Asia Online ~
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Chapter 4, Part 6A - Chuang Tzu
Posted by The Rambling Taoist at 2:30 PM
Labels: Chuang Tzu, Quotes, Taoism
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Post a Comment
Comments are unmoderated, so you can write whatever you want.