Chuang Tzu was fishing from the banks of the Slave Creek when two ambassadors from the King of Ch’u approached. “Our master wishes to encumber you with the governance of his realm, ” they said.
Chuang Tzu held his pole and without looking back replied, “I’ve heard that Ch’u has a spirit turtle that’s been dead three thousand years; that the king has it wrapped and boxed and stored in the high hall of the ancestral temple. Do you think that turtle would rather have died so his bones could be ennobled, or to be living, dragging its tail in the mud?”
“Why he’d rather be living, dragging his tail in the mud,” the ambassadors agreed.
“Go away,” Chuang Tzu said. “I’m dragging my tail in the mud.”