Zhuangzi Turns Down a Job Offer

Photo by Luca Ambrosi

Once, when Zhuangzi was fishing in the River Pu, the king of Chu sent two officials to appear before him and convey these words: โ€œI would like to burden you with the administration of my realm.โ€ Zhuangzi held on his fishing pole and, without looking round, he said, โ€œI have heard that Chu possesses a sacred turtle, dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. This turtle, now, would it prefer to be dead with its bones preserved and honored, or to be alive with its tail dragging in the mud?โ€ โ€œAlive with its tail dragging in the mud,โ€ answered the two officials. โ€œThen go away,โ€ said Zhuangzi. โ€œI mean to drag my tail in the mud!โ€