Nie Que was questioning Wang Ni. Four times he asked a question and four times Wang Ni said he didn't know. Nie Que proceeded to hop around in great glee and went and told Master Puyi. Master Puyi said, “Are you just now finding that out?1 The clansman Youyu was no match for the clansman Tai.2 The clansman Youyu still held on to benevolence and worked to win men over. He won men over all right, but he never got out into [the realm of] 'not-man.' The clansman Tai, now—he lay down peaceful and easy; he woke up wideeyed and blank. Sometimes he thought he was a horse; sometimes he thought he was a cow. His understanding was truly
1 On Nie Que and Wang Ni, see above, pp. 40–42. Master Puyi is probably the
same as Master Piyi, who appears elsewhere in the Zhuangzi as the teacher of
Wang Ni. According to commentators, Nie Que's delight came from the fact that
he had finally realized that there are no answers to questions.
2 “The clansman Youyu” is the sage ruler Shun, the ideal of the Confucian philoso-
phers. “The clansman Tai” is vaguely identified as a ruler of high antiquity.