The Carp in the Dry Rut
When Zhuang Zi had no money, he went to the Lord Keeper of the River to borrow some grain.
"That's all right," said the lord. "I shall soon have collected the taxes from my fief; then I'll lend you three hundred gold pieces. How about that?"
Very indignant, Zhuang Zi told him this story:
As I was coming here yesterday I heard a voice calling me, and looking round I saw a carp lying in a dry rut on the road.
"How did you get there, carp?" I asked.
"I am a native of the Eastern Ocean," he replied. "Do you have a barrel of water to save my life?"
"That's all right," I told him. "I shall soon be visiting the princes of Wu and Yue in the south, and I shall let through some water for you from the West River. How about that?"
The carp was most indignant.
"I am out of my usual element," he said, "and don't know what to do. One barrel of water would save me, but you give me nothing but empty promises. You'll have to look for me later in the fish market."