Zhuangzi told a story much like this about the Owl and the Phoenix

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Once the prime minister

received information that

Zhuangzi coveted his position. 

 

The prime minister sent out 

the secret police to arrest Zhuangzi.
They searched for three days and nights

but they could not find him. 

 

On the fourth day Zhuangzi 

came to see the prime minister

of his own accord.  Zhuanzi said,

“Have you heard the story

of the bird that lives in the south,
it’s called the phoenix 

and it never grows old?

This undying phoenix 

rises out of the South Sea
and flies to North Sea,

never landing except on

particular, sacred trees.
He will touch no food
except the most exquisite, rare fruit,
and he drinks only from the clearest springs.

Now, once there was an owl
chewing a half-rotted rat,
and he saw the phoenix fly over.

“Looking up, he screeched in fear
and clutched the dead rat to himself,
worried that the phoenix would take it away.

Prime minister,
why are you so frantic,
clutching your position and
screeching at me in worry?”

 

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