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Master Kung and the Kicking Horse

a retelling of a Taoist parable

In a village in ancient China there were two wide streets running parallel to each other, and a narrow but heavily-used alley between them.

One day someone tied a wild horse to a post in the alley. The horse kicked at anyone who came near. A crowd gathered as people tried to find ways to get around the horse without getting hurt. One person attempted to run past the horse, but got kicked to the ground. Another tried to jump over the horse's legs, but still got kicked. A third attempted to crawl under the horse when it kicked its legs up, only to get trampled as the horse's legs came back down.

Eventually Master Kung was seen walking down the main street, approaching the alley. The people in the crowd said to each other, "Master Kung is very wise. He will find a way past the horse."

When Master Kung reached the alley he paused. He looked at the crowd; he looked at the horse. Then he continued walking down the main street until he reached the next alley, and crossed through there.

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