A goby in the carriage rut

The family of Zhuāng Zhōu being poor, he went to ask the loan of some rice from the Marquis Superintendent of the Hé (the Yellow River), who said, ‘Yes, I shall be getting the tax-money from the people soon, and I will then lend you three hundred ounces of silver;–will that do?’

Zhuāng Zhōu flushed with anger, and said, ‘On the road yesterday, as I was coming here, I heard some one calling out. On looking round, I saw a goby in the carriage rut, and said to it, “Goby fish, what has brought you here?”

The goby said, “I am Minister of Waves in the Eastern Sea. Have you, Sir, a gallon or a pint of water to keep me alive?”

I replied, “Yes, I am going south to see the kings of Wú and Yuè, and I will then lead a stream from the Western Jiāng (the Yangtze River) to meet you;–will that do?”

The goby flushed with anger, and said, “I have lost my proper element, and I can here do nothing for myself; but if I could get a gallon or a pint of water, I should keep alive. Than do what you propose, you had better soon look for me in a stall of dry fish.”‘

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