庄子 | 名人小故事

庄子 | 名人小故事

Zhuangzi was probably the poorest among the philosophers before the Qin Dynasty. During the difficult times, according to his disciples, he had to earn his living by making straw sandals and even borrowed food from others when he did not know where his next meal would come from.

在先秦哲学家中,庄子可能算是最穷困的了。根据他弟子的说法,在生活窘迫的时候,他就靠打草鞋过日子,甚至是吃了上顿没下顿,不得不向别人借粮过日子。

Once he went to see the King of Wei in a patched dress of coarse cloth and a pair of straw sandals with broken strings, but he was not at all bothered about it. When the King of Wei asked him why he was so distressed, he immediately replied that he was not distressed, but just poor and born at the wrong time, just like a monkey finding itself among prickly thorns, trapped in an unfavorable situation, with its hands and feet tied, not being able to bring its abilities to full play.

有一次他去见魏王,穿的是补了又补的粗布衣服,草鞋上的带子也是断了再接的,但他却觉得无所谓。所以当魏王问他为什么如此潦倒时,庄子马上说:“我不是潦倒,只是穷,是生不逢时;就像一只落在荆棘丛里的猴子,在不利的环境中,被捆住了手脚,不能充分施展自己的才能。”

Here is another story in Records of the Grand Historian. Hearing that Zhuangzi was very talented, King Wei of Chu sent two envoys with a big reward to invite him to be the prime minister. Zhuangzi said to the envoys with a smile, “A thousand pieces of gold is indeed a large sum and the prime minister is of course a high position, but you might as well take a look at the ox serving as the sacrificial offering. It can usually enjoy good food and beautiful clothes. But once it becomes the sacrificial offering, it’s no longer possible to live as carefree as a piglet. Please leave and do not try to corrupt me. I would rather be like a small fish having fun in the mud than being constrained by the lords.”

《史记》中记载了这样一件事,楚威王听说庄子很有才干,就派两名使臣带重金见他,邀请他来当宰相。庄子笑着对使者说:“千金固然是重利,宰相也当然是高位,但你们不妨看看那祭祀的牛,虽然平时吃的是美味,披的是锦衣,但一旦成为祭品,想做自由的小猪也不可能了。你们快走开,不要玷污我,我宁愿像一条小鱼,在泥水中快乐地游来游去,也不愿受君主们的束缚。

In another story, Zhuangzi compared himself to the noble phoenix, dismissing the high position of the prime minister held by his friend Hui Shi as a rotten rat.

在另一个故事中,庄子把自己比喻为高雅的凤凰,而他的朋友惠施所任的宰相这一高位就像腐烂的老鼠,令人不耻。