Confucius looked at the view in Lu-liang. The waterfall hung down three hundred feet, it streamed foam for forty miles, it was a place where fish and turtles and crocodiles could no swim, but he saw one fellow swimming there. He took him for someone in trouble who wanted to die, and sent a disciple along the bank to pull him up. But after a few hundred paces the man came out, and strolled under the bank with his hair down his back, singing as he walked. Confucius took the opportunity to question him.
– I thought you were a ghost, but now I see you close up you’re a man. May I ask whether you have a Way to stay afloat in water?
– No, I have no Way. I began in what is native to me, grew up in what is natural to me, matured in what is destined for me. I enter with the inflow, and emerge with the outflow, follow the Way of the water and do not impose my selfishness upon it.
– What do you mean by ‘beginning in what is native to you, growing up in what is natural to you, maturing in what is destined for you’?
– Having been born on dry land I am at home on dry land – it’s native to me. Having grown up in water I am at home in water – it’s natural to me. It is so without me knowing why it is so – it’s destined for me.’
(Chuang-tzu, chapter 9)