“Where are the hornless dragons which carry bears on their backs for sport? Where is the great serpent with nine heads and where is the Shu-Hu?” (Zhuangzi ca. 3rd-2nd centuries BCE).
The dragon, it seems, is right here, but both Shu and Hu have gone visiting. Their host is none other than Mr Chaos, as Confucius scathingly calls him, otherwise known as Hundun, Hun-Tun, Wantan, or – you got it! – Wonton. It all depends on your Chinese pronunciation, Beautiful People.
“The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. “All men,” they said…
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