五官四肢的爭執 – Body Politics
The Chinese Moral Tale: The Five Senses and Four Limbs Fight
One day, a man’s five senses and four limbs had a vicious argument.
First everyone criticized the eyes: “You don’t do anything, but you get to enjoy all the world’s beautiful sights. It’s really unfair.”
Next they attacked the ears: “You don’t move anywhere all day long, but you get to hear beautiful music. Why can’t we?”
Then they turned their attention to the tongue and scolded him: “Besides when we’re sleeping, you eat or drink day and night. You get to enjoy all the food under heaven. We never eat a single thing.”
The most aggrieved parties was the hand. He thought because they worked hard all day, he contributed the most, but he didn’t get to have anything to himself.
But the legs disagreed with him, saying: “Really, we’re doing the most work. If we didn’t take you places, you wouldn’t be so effective.”
The hand didn’t have a good reply to this, but the more he thought, the angrier he became. Finally, he couldn’t stand it any longer, so he grabbed a knife. He dug out the eyes, so they could no longer see. He cut off the ears, so they could no longer hear. He cut out the tongue, so it could no longer talk. Finally, he cut off the legs, so they could no longer walk.
The man died from his injuries. Obviously, the hand could not survive on his own.
This story makes sense, especially in noting that the hands would have the upper hand if it came to blows, but I prefer the version my father told me.
My Father’s Version: Which Body Part is The Greatest?
One day, a man’s body parts argued over who was the greatest.
The eyes said, “If it weren’t for us, we couldn’t see anything.” The tongue replied, “But without me, we couldn’t talk!”
The hands said, “I’m the one doing most of the work,” and the legs retorted, “If we didn’t move, we’d be stuck here!”
The stomach said, “I’m the one who digests the food and powers the rest of you.” The brain said, “I’m doing all the thinking around here! I’m the real boss.”
Then the anus said, “What about me? I’m important, too!”
Everyone laughed at him. “You?! Yeah, right! You spend the whole day with poop. And you’re ugly.”
That really hurt his feelings. So he stopped working.
Eventually the eyes watered, and the tongue went dry. The hands clenched together, and the legs didn’t want to move. The stomach thought it was going to explode. Even the brain went cloudy.
So they all apologized to the anus and told him he was the greatest.