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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Chwang Tze (4th Century B.C.)

The Pleasure of Fishes


From “Autumn Floods”

CHWANG TZE and a friend had strolled on to a bridge over the Hao, when the former observed, “Look how the minnows are darting about! That is the pleasure of fishes.”

“Not being a fish yourself,” objected the friend, “how can you possibly know in what the pleasure of fishes consists?”

“And you not being I,” retorted Chwang Tze, “how can you know that I do not know?”

To which the friend replied, “If I, not being you, cannot know what you know, it follows that you, not being a fish, cannot know in what the pleasure of fishes consists.”

“Let us go back,” rejoined Chwang Tze, “to your original question. You ask me how I know in what the pleasure of fishes consists. Well, I know that I am enjoying myself over the Hao, and from this I infer that the fishes are enjoying themselves in it.”