10 Chuang Tzii
chapped hands was in both cases the same, its application was different. Here, it secured a title; there, a capacity for washing silk.
" Now as to your five-bushel gourd, why did you not make a boat of it, and float about over river and lake? You could not then have complained of its not holding anything ! But I fear you are rather woolly inside."
Like it. This, of course, is a sneer. Hui Tzu could not see that the greatness of a thing depends upon the greatness of its application.
Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu, Sir, I have a large tree, of a worthless kind. Its trunk is so irregular and knotty that it cannot be measured out for planks ; while its branches are so twisted as to admit of no geometrical subdivision what- ever. It stands by the roadside, but no carpenter will look at it. And your words, sir, are like that tree ; — big and useless, not wanted by any- body."
" Sir," rejoined Chuang Tzu, " have you never seen a wild cat, crouching down in wait for its prey ? Right and left it springs from bough to bough, high and low alike, — until perchance it gets caught in a trap or dies in a snare. On the other hand, there is the yak with its great huge body. It is big enough in all conscience, but it cannot catch mice.
The adaptability of a thing is oft-times its bane. The inability of the yak to catch mice saves it from the snare which is fatal to the wild cat.