Lo Zu, after one of his frequent walks into the fields and wooded areas of nature, came walking into the village. He stopped to rest for a while and leaned on his sinuous pole, his meandering cane; nearby, a small group of men, all of them sitting together, continued to repeatedly laugh hysterically.
Lo Zu realized that they were laughing at the fact that a nearby dog was repeatedly chasing its own tail. Lo Zu continued to walk again and came closer to the men who were laughing. He heard one of them say, “That dog is really ignorant!” All of them, except Lo Zu, continued to laugh at the dog as it continued to chase its own tail.
Lo Zu turned to face the sitting men and said, “It is so easy to come to conclusions; conclusions that are wrong.” Lo Zu further went on, “That dog could chase that cat that is a little way down the road, but cats can quickly scratch and the dog could easily get a gravely injured eye. Likewise, the dog could chase after that man walking across the street. However, the man could kick the dog or throw something at it, injuring it. Instead, the dog takes the prudent approach and, for great exercise, chases its own tail. A most intelligent animal! I, myself, walk daily to the meadows and woods to enjoy the sweet butterflies and creatures; therefore I get quite a bit of exercise. I see that dog exercising ‘most every day also. Sometimes I see it chasing butterflies, which is also a very wise and safe form of exercising. Exercising often is great intelligence. I see you men sitting around here a lot each and every day. Do any of you exercise?”
“Not really,” said one of the men. (The men were no longer laughing.)
“I didn’t think so,” replied Lo Zu. He further added, “The beginning of this doglike life always chases its own end; let the dog be your teacher.”