The Book of Lieh-tzu.
A Classic of the Tao
A.C. Graham (1960; rpt. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990),
T'ien of Ch'i was going on a journey; he sacrificed in his courtyard to the god of the roads, and banqueted a thousand guests.
Someone was serving fish and geese at the seat of honour. T'ien
looked at them; then he sighed and said:
How generous heaven is to mankind! It grows the five
grains and breeds the fish and birds for the use of man.
All the guests answered like his echo. But a twelve-year-old
boy of the Pao family, who had a seat among the guests, came
forward and said:
It is not as your lordship says. The myriad things between
heaven and earth, born in the same way that we are, do not differ
from us in kind. One kind is no nobler than another; it is simply
that the stronger and cleverer rule the weaker and sillier. Things
take it in turns to eat each other, but they are not bred for each
other's sake. Men take the things which are edible and eat them,
but how can it be claimed that heaven bred them originally for
the sake of man? Besides, mosquitoes and gnats bite our skin,
tigers and wolves eat our flesh; did heaven originally breed man
for the sake of mosquitoes and gnats, and his flesh for the sake of
tigers and wolves?