202 Chttang Tzu
universe I am but as a small stone or a small tree on a vast mountain. And conscious thus of my own insignificance, what is there of which I can boast ?
" The Four Seas, — are they not to the universe but like puddles in a marsh ? The Middle King- dom, — is it not to the surrounding ocean like a tare- seed in a granary? Of all the myriad created things, man is but one. And of all those who inhabit the land, live on the fruit of the earth, and move about in cart and boat, an individual man is but one. Is not he, as compared with all creation, but as the tip of a hair upon a horse's skin ?
" The succession of the Five Rulers, the conten- tions of the Three Kings, the griefs of the philan- thropist, the labours of the administrator, are but this and nothing more.
Poh I refused the throne for fame's sake. Confucius discoursed to get a reputation for learning. This over-estimation of self on their part, was it not very much your own in reference to water ?"
" Very well," replied the Spirit of the River, " am I then to regard the universe as great and the tip of a hair as small ? "
" Not at all," said the Spirit of the Ocean. " Dimensions are limitless ; time is endless. Con- ditions are not invariable ; terms are not final. Thus, the wise man looks into space, and does not regard the small as too little, nor the great as too