20 February 2011


        Once upon a time in ancient China there lived a man who could talk with animals. This man was especially fond of monkeys, and earned his living as a monkey trainer. One year, famine came to the land, and food became very expensive. The man had to dip into the family's savings in order to feed the family and the monkeys. Finally, it became necessary to cut the rations of the monkeys.
        The monkeys normally received eight chestnuts each, four in the morning and four in the evening. The man went into the courtyard where he kept the monkeys, and called them down to him from the trees. They came down somersaulting and chortling and sat in a circle around him.
        The man explained about how his money wouldn't buy as many chestnuts. "I'm very sorry," he said, but I'm going to have to give you three in the morning and four in the evening."
        The monkeys were furious. They chattered angrily, and called the man foul names in monkey speech. "Well," said the man. “If you don’t like the idea of three in the morning and four in the evening, how about this? How about if, instead, I give you four in the morning and three in the evening?"
        The monkeys were delighted.

(Chuang Tzu)

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