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Daoism -> Zhuangzi -> Inner Chapters -> Man in the World, Associated with other Men -> 6

南伯子綦Nan-bo Zi-Qi in rambling about the Heights of Shang,
saw a large and extraordinary tree.
The teams of a thousand chariots
might be sheltered under it, and its shade would cover them all!
:“Zi-Qi said, 'What a tree is this!
!”It must contain an extraordinary amount of timber!
When he looked up, however, at its smaller branches,
they were so twisted and crooked that they could not be made into rafters and beams;
when he looked down to its root,
its stem was divided into so many rounded portions that neither coffin nor shell could be made from them.
He licked one of its leaves,
and his mouth felt torn and wounded.
使The smell of it would make a man frantic, as if intoxicated, for more than three whole days together.
:“'This, indeed,' said he, 'is a tree good for nothing,
and it is thus that it has attained to such a size.
Ah!
and spirit-like men acknowledge this worthlessness (and its result).
In Song there is the district of Jing-shi, in which catalpae, cypresses, and mulberry trees grow well.
Those of them which are a span or two or rather more in circumference
are cut down by persons who want to make posts to which to tie their monkeys;
those which are three or four spans round
are cut down by persons who want beams forr their lofty and famous houses;
and those of seven or eight spans
樿 are cut down by noblemen and rich merchants who want single planks for the sides of their coffins.
The trees in consequence do not complete their natural term of life,
and come to a premature end in the middle of their growth under the axe and bill;
-- this is the evil that befalls them from their supplying good timber.
In the same way the Jie (book) specifies oxen that have white foreheads,
pigs that have turned-up snouts,
and men that are suffering from piles,
and forbids their being sacrificed to the Ho.
The wizards know them by these peculiarities
and consider them to be inauspicious,
but spirit-like men consider them on this account to be very fortunate.


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