五官四肢的爭執 – Body Politics

中國寓言:五官四肢的爭執
有一天,一個人的五官四肢發生爭執,你一言我一語的,吵得很兇。
最初,大家一到指責眼睛:[你什麽事情也不做,卻有機會欣賞世間一切美好的景色,真是太不公平了。]
然後他們又攻擊耳朵:[你整天待在那兒不動,卻可以聽到各種悅耳的音樂,我們爲什麽就沒有這種機會呢?]
後來他們又轉移目標,大罵舌頭:[你除了睡覺以外,一天到晚上不是吃就是喝,嚐遍了天下的美好,我們卻連最普通的東西都吃不到。]
最覺得委屈的是手。他認爲自己整天辛勤工作,貢獻最大,卻什麽也享受不到。
可是腳不同意手的話,他說:[實在說起來,我的功勞最大。如果我不各處走動,手也不會有那麽大的貢獻。]
手聽了這些話,卻也沒有什麽話好説。他越想越生氣,終於忍無可忍,拿起一把刀來。先挖掉了眼鏡,什麽也看不見了;再割下耳朵,什麽也聼不見了;再割下舌頭,不能説話了;然後又把腳砍掉,不能走路了。
最後,那個人因爲重傷而死亡,手當然也不能單獨生存了。

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.

Explore posts in the same categories: China, La Vida, Literature, Translations

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