Fish and bear paw – can’t have both


While preparing to a Classical Chinese class today, I came upon a popular chapter from Mencius (4th century BC) that mentions a hard choice between two of his most favorite delicacies, fish and bear paw, when he can’t have both. The choice is supposed to be a really hard one (and he chooses bear paw, which is supposed to sound really logical to the guy he’s talking to). This chapter is included in all the Classical Chinese textbooks, so I’ve read it many times, but each time I see it I still find it very funny, because I have this picture of the great philosopher standing in a supermarket and choosing between some fish and a packaged bear paw.
So this time I just couldn’t help it and made an illustration.


The bubble reads “I can have both an once! Isn’t it wonderful!!” in Ancient Chinese. And the sign on the shelf is a typical Chinese supermarket sign that says “buy one get one free”.

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