Zhuangzi was too poor to buy any food, under desperation, he went to home of the supervision official who was in charge of the river management to borrow some food.
The official saw Zhuangzi and agreed with the request and said, “when I collect the tax from people, I will lend you 300 tael (37.8 gram) of silver.
Zhuangzi turned to anger, he told the official that: “On my way here yesterday, I heard someone crying and sought help. I looked around and found nothing but a fish laying on the drying up track.”
Zhuangzi sighed and then said: “It saw me like looking at a savior. Allegedly, the fish used to live in the East Sea, and unfortunately fell into the track and was unable to help it but almost dried out. He asked me for some water to save its life. ”
The official listed to Zhuangzi’s words and asked about whether Zhuangzi did help the fish.
Zhuangzi looked at the official indifferently and said: “I said yes, I will go to the South, and persuade the King to divert the river water here, and lead it back to the East China Sea!”
The official was stunned and felt the method was absurd and said: ” how can this work?”
“Correct, the fish heard my words, and became angry, ‘I will dry up and die immediately, your promise is no more than a lie’ he said.”
It is people’s common sense that water from thousands of miles away can help to resolve immediate thirsty. This fable reveals that the river supervisor was not truly generous, but hypocritical.