Ancient Science and Technology: A Flying Wooden Swan


PureInsight | July 7, 2003

[] During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-475 BC) in China, there was a king called Anli in the Wei Kingdom. One day he saw some swans flying in the sky and he was enchanted. He said, "If I could fly in the sky like those swans, I would be able to look at the world from above and show my disdain for any other heroes."

At that time a hermit among the audience heard his words. He made a wooden swan and presented it to King Anli. The King said, "It looks like a swan but it is useless. He made such a useless thing, so he must be a wicked person."

Then the King summoned the hermit and wanted to punish him. The hermit said, "Your majesty only knows that useful things are useful, but you do not know that useless things can be also useful. Today I am going to take this chance to perform a flying show for the king."

Then he took the wooden swan and rode on it. The wooden swan waved its wings and flew away. No one knew where the hermit and the swan ended up.

This story shows us that if we look at things that seem to be trifling on the surface with an open mind and without prejudice, we will be able to see a new world.

The Mysterious Kingdom (Yi Yuan)

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