Did you know China has its own fables and fairytales

Did you know China has its own fables and fairytales, just like “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”? For thousands of years, long before your grandparents were born, wise men and women in China have told tales – some long, some short, some funny, some sad — to entertain and teach people both young and old. Over time, the best of these stories were written down so they could be remembered forever. Now Dragonkids.com.cn brings them to you. Read them for fun, and you might just learn something along the way.

fable:

How Yu Gong Moved Away Two High Mountains
(愚公移山)

There were two high mountains between Jizhou in the south and Heyang in the north. One was called Taihang Mountain and the other Wangwu Mountain. Both of the mountains were more than three hundred kilometers around and rose as high as 3,000 meters.

Just to the north of the mountains lived an old man called Yu Gong who was nearly ninety years old. With the two high mountains just in front of his house, his family and he had to walk a long way around the mountains when they had something to do on the other side of the mountains.

One day, Yu Gong called all his family together to talk about how to move the two mountains to other places. His wife said, “An old man like you cannot even move a small hill, not to mention the two high mountains. Even if you can, where can you throw so much earth and stone?”

“The Bohai Sea is big enough to contain all the earth and stone.” Yu Gong said.
It was decided. His children started to dig the mountains, led by the old man Yu Gong.

A man named Zhi Sou saw them working and tried to stop them with a smile, “You are so silly! You’re so old and weak that you can’t even take away the grass and trees. How can you move the high mountains?”

“You’re wrong.” Yu Gong said with a sigh. “Look, my sons can continue my work after my death. When my sons die, my grandchildren will continue. So generation after generation, there’s no end. But the mountains can’t grow higher. Don’t you think I can move them away?”

Seeing the old man so confident, Zhi Sou was tongue-tied.

Later the Heaven God was reported the story of Yu Gong, and greatly moved by the old man’s determination. He then ordered another god to come down and take the two high mountains away.

The story tells us that so long as one is determined and sticks to it long enough, anything can be done, no matter how difficult it is.

在冀州的南面,河阳的北面,有两座巍峨的大山,一座是太行山,一座是王屋山,方圆七百里,有万丈高。

山的北边住着年近九十岁的愚公,他的家门被山挡住,每次外出都要绕过大山,多走很多路,很不方便。一天,愚公把全家人召到一起商量要把两座大山移走。妻子说:”凭你的力量,连一座小山丘也移不走,何况这两座大山呢?再说,你就是能移走,那土石往哪里放呢?”愚公说:”渤海那么大,可以把土石扔到渤海里去。”
于是,愚公便带领子孙们挖起山来。

河曲的智叟看见了,笑着阻止道:”你呀,真是太傻了!以你的残年余力,连山上的一根草都动不了,更何况这一座大山呢?”愚公叹了口气说道:”你错了,你想想,我死了以后还有我的儿子,我的儿子又有儿子,子子孙孙没有穷尽的呀!可是山上的土石不会增加,还怕挖不走吗?”

后来,愚公移山的事被天上的玉皇大帝知道了。玉帝被愚公坚忍不拔的精神所感动,便派大力神夸娥氏把两座大山背走了。

这个故事告诉我们:只要有决心,有毅力,再难的事情也能办成。

The Fox and the Crow
(狐狸和乌鸦)

A crow built a nest in a tree. Just under the tree, there was a hole in which lived a fox.

One day, the crow flew far away looking for food. He finally found a piece of meat and took it back to the tree. He stood on one branch near his nest and felt very happy.

At that time, the fox was also out for food. When he saw the crow standing on the branch with the meat in his mouth, he swallowed and felt eager to get the meat.
The fox blinked and said with a smile, “Hello, my dear neighbor.”

The crow kept silence.

“Hello,” the fox said again. “How are your children?”

The crow looked at the fox without saying anything.

“My dear crow,” the fox said. “Your feathers are so beautiful. Your voice is also very beautiful. Everyone loves to hear your songs. Please sing a song for me. Ok?”

The crow felt flattered. He opened his mouth and began to sing. “Wa-” The meat fell down to the ground as soon as it opened its mouth.

The fox took the meat and went into its hole.

The story tells us that bad people often use sweet words for a wicked purpose, so we should always keep sharp vigilance.

乌鸦在大树上搭了个窝。大树下边有个洞,洞里住着一只狐狸。

有一天,乌鸦飞到很远很远的地方找吃的,它找到一片肉,叼了回来,站在窝旁边的树枝上,心里非常高兴。

这时候,狐狸也出来寻找食物。它抬头一看,看见了乌鸦嘴里叼着的肉,馋得直流口水。

狐狸眼珠转了一转,就笑着对乌鸦说:”您好,我亲爱的邻居。”乌鸦没有理睬护理。

狐狸又说:”亲爱的乌鸦,您的孩子还好吗?”乌鸦看了狐狸一眼,还是没有吭声。

狐狸又说:”亲爱的乌鸦,您的羽毛真美丽,您的嗓音真好听,谁都爱听您唱的歌。您唱几句让我欣赏欣赏吧!”

乌鸦听了狐狸赞美的话,像吃了蜜一样,得意极了,就唱起歌来。”哇–“, 它刚一张嘴,肉就掉了下来。

狐狸叼起肉,就钻会洞里去了。

这个故事就是说:坏人不怀好意的赞美只是为了达到邪恶的目的,所以在这样的赞美面前,我们一样保持警惕。

A Snipe and a Clam Locked in Fight
(鹬蚌相争)

A clam swam to the bank and opened its shell in the sun. A snipe flew over and saw a piece of red meat on the ground, so it dived to the ground and pecked at the clam. Before the snipe drew back its beak, it was gripped tightly inside because the clam suddenly felt a sharp pain and closed its shell quickly. The snipe shook its head violently to cast off the clam, but it failed no matter how hard it tried.

The snipe said angrily, “Listen, you clam, it’s not going to rain today, neither will it tomorrow. Then you’ll die from thirst. So quick! Let me off!”

The clam was angry too. “You listen, I won’t let you off today, and I won’t let you off tomorrow, either. Then you’ll die of hunger. Do you still dare to eat me?”

The snipe and clam were locked in fight and quarreled, and neither of them liked to give in first. Just at that moment, an old fisherman came. He picked them up and took them home for dinner.

The story tells us that the third party will have an advantage fall into his lap when the other two parties are locked in combat for their own personal interests.

一天,河里的蚌游到岸边,把蚌壳张开晒太阳。这时候鹬飞过,看到一块鲜美的肉在地上,就想吃到嘴里。鹬用嘴一啄,蚌突然感到一阵疼痛,立即把蚌壳合了起来。鹬的长嘴就被夹住了。鹬想把蚌甩掉,就拼命的用力甩头,可是蚌夹的非常紧,鹬怎么也甩不掉。

鹬生气地说:”蚌你听着,今天不下雨,明天也不下雨,就把你渴死了,你还不快松开!”

蚌也着急地说:”鹬你听着,今天我不放开你,明天不放开你,就会把你饿死。你还敢吃我吗?”

鹬和蚌互不相让。这时候来了个打鱼的老人,看到缠在一起的鹬和蚌,就把它们一起抓走了。

这个故事是说,为了私利,各不相让,会导致两败俱伤,反而会让第三者坐收渔利。

A Tiger in Tow
(狐假虎威)

A tiger was looking for food in a large forest when a fox ran by. The tiger sprang forward and caught it.

The fox was frightened, but it had an idea in a blink. “You dare not eat me.” it said.

“Why?” the tiger asked.

“I was sent by God to rule all the animals. If you eat me, you’re disobeying the God’s order. Then you’re not a good animal.”

The tiger was silent, thinking whether it was true that the fox had been sent the god. Seeing the tiger still in doubt, the fox said seriously, ” If you don’t think what I said is not true, I can take you to see all the animals. I’ll walk in front and you follow me. Let’s see if all of them are afraid of me.”

So the fox led the tiger into the forest. It was true that all the animals, such as deer, sheep, rabbits and so on, ran away as soon as they saw them.

Thus the fox borrowed the tiger’s terror and showed its authority before the animals. But tiger did not know that all the animals ran away only because they were afraid of itself.

The story tells us that there is always someone who tries to swagger about in borrowed plumes.

在茂密的大森林里,有一只老虎正在寻找食物。突然,一只狐狸从它身边窜过,老虎猛扑过去,把它抓住了。

狡猾的狐狸心里十分害怕,可是它眼珠一转,想出了个花招,就故作镇静地对老虎说:”你不敢吃我!”

“为什么?”老虎问。

“我是天帝派来管理百兽的。吃了我,就是违抗天帝的命令,就是大逆不道!”

老虎听了不禁愣住了,心想:狐狸奉天帝之命,来管理百兽,是真的吗?正当老虎半信半疑的时候,狐狸煞有介事地说:”如果你不相信我的话,我可以带着你到百兽面前走一趟。我在前面走,你跟在后面,看它们是不是怕我。”

于是,狐狸和老虎一前一后朝森林中走去。森林里各种各样、大大小小的野兽,比如小鹿啦,羚羊啦,兔子啦,看见狐狸身后的老虎,都吓得四处逃跑。

就这样,狐狸借着老虎在百兽面前威风了一次。可是老虎还不知道上了狐狸的当,不知道是自己吓跑了百兽,还以为它们真的是害怕狐狸呢!

这个故事是说:有些人凭借别人的权势到处招摇撞骗,欺压弱小。

Where is the Rice from?
(米从何来)

A rich man in the Qi Kingdom had two silly sons, but the rich man loved his sons very much and thought them as the apples of his eyes.

One day, a man named Ai Zi said to the rich man, “Your sons are so stupid and know nothing about the world. How can they take your property over after your death?”

Hearing these words, the rich man became a little bit angry. The father said, “Everyone says my sons are very smart and praise them for their good virtue. What you say is sheer nonsense!”

“Then let’s test them. Ok?” Ai Zi suggested. The rich man agreed.

The father called his two sons before Ai Zi, who asked the question, “Do you know where rice comes from?”

The elder son smiled and answered, “Any one with sense knows the answer, that rice comes from the kitchen.”

The younger son blinked and said, “You’re wrong! How can you say rice comes from the kitchen! It indeed comes from the bag.”

The rich man looked at his sons and turned red with anger. “You both are so silly! Why don’t you ask me when you don’t the right answer? You are both wrong! Rice comes neither from the kitchen nor from the bag, it comes from the barn!”

The story means that one may do foolish things when he pretends to know the things he is actually ignorant of.

齐国有一个富翁,他有两个儿子,一个比一个愚笨。可是富翁还是把两个儿子视为掌上明珠。

一天, 艾子对富翁说:”您这两位少爷整天糊里糊涂,以后怎么接管家业呢?”

富翁听了很不高兴,说:”真是岂有此理,我的儿子多聪明呀,谁不当面夸他们聪明过人!”

艾子笑道:”那我们来考考他们吧?”富翁同意了。

于是富翁把两个儿子找来。艾子问:”你们说大米从哪儿来的?”

老大嘿嘿一笑,说:”这谁不知道!是从厨房来的呗!”

老二眨巴眨巴眼睛说:”不对!怎么是从厨房来的呢?大米是从口袋倒出来的。”

富翁看看老大,又看看老二,气得涨红了脸,骂道:”两个蠢材,不知道也不问问我,怎么可以在客人面前胡说呢?告诉你们,大米不是从厨房来的,也不是从口袋倒出来的,是从咱们的粮仓来的。”

这个故事告诉我们,不懂装懂,一定会闹出笑话的。

The Taoist in Mount Lao
(崂山道士)

A long time ago, there was a young man called Wang Qi. When he heard that there were many immortals in Mount Lao, he went there at once.

There was a Daoist who still looked young although he was very old. Wang Qi became one his pupils. During the first month, Wang Qi went to the hills for woods with others every day and listened to the instructions of his teacher patiently. In the second month, he felt that he could not stand the hard and tiring life, but he still waited for the teacher to teach him the magical skills. In the third month, he could not bear the suffering any longer. He went to see his teacher and said, ” I’ve been working hard for so many days. Now would you please teach me some skills, or it’ll be a waste of time for me to be here.”

“What do you want to learn?”

“Whatever.”

“Then I’ll teach you how to go through a wall.” Then the Daoist told Wang Qi the incantations. After reciting the incantations of the magic, Wang Qi made it. With great pleasure, Wang Qi said goodbye to his teacher and went back home.

Back at home, he told his family and neighbors that he had met with an immortal and learned how to go through a wall magically, but no one believed in him. So Wang Qi recited the incantations and ran towards a wall to prove his point. However, his head hit wall with a “Bang”, and he was knocked heavily. His wife helped him to his feet and found that there was a large bump on his forehead.

The story means that, speculation and claptrap will only lead to failure.

从前,有一个年轻人名叫王七,听说崂山上有很多仙人,就前往崂山访道。

在崂山上,王七拜一位鹤发童颜的老道士为师。第一个月王七每天跟着众人去山上坎柴,认真地听师傅讲道。可是第二个月他就难以忍受山上清贫辛苦的生活了,但是为了学到仙术,他只得耐心等待。到了第三个月,他实在忍无可忍了,于是找到老道,对师傅说:”弟子操劳多日,请师傅传授弟子一些仙术,也不妄弟子在这里所受的辛苦。”

老道问他:”那你想学什么呢?”

“什么都可以。”

“那我就教给你穿墙术吧。”老道答应了他。然后就把穿墙术的咒语告诉了王七。王七念过咒语后,果然能够穿墙而过,他非常高兴,谢过师傅就下了山。

王七回到家后,向家里人和左邻右舍吹嘘他在崂山上遇到了神仙,学会了穿墙术。众人不相信,于是王七就念动咒语,然后奔向一堵墙壁。只听”嘭”的一声,王七的头重重地撞到了墙上,由于太用力,他一下子坐到了地上。他的妻子连忙上前把他扶起来。王七不但没有穿墙而过,反而把头撞了一个大包。

这个故事带给我们的反思就是:投机取巧、哗众取宠的人注定要吃苦头。

How a Colt Crossed the River
(小马过河)

One day, a colt carried a bag of wheat to the mill.

As he was running with the bag on his back, he came to a small river. Water went gurgling on. The colt could not decide whether he could cross it. Looking around, he saw a cow grazing nearby. He asked, “Uncle Cow, could you tell me if I can cross the river?” the cow told him that he could and that the river was not very deep, just to his knees.

The colt was crossing the river when a squirrel jumped down a tree and stopped him. The squirrel shouted, “Colt, stop! You’ll be drowned! One of my friends was drowned yesterday just in the river.” Not knowing what to do, the colt went home to consult his mom.

He told his mom his experience on the way. His mother said, “My child, don’t always listen to others. You’d better go and try yourself. Then you’ll know what to do.”

Just at the river, the squirrel stopped the colt again. “Little horse, it’s too dangerous!” “No, I want to have a try by myself”, answered the colt. Then he crossed the river carefully. On the other side of the river, the colt realized that the river was neither as shallow as the cow said nor as as deep as the squirrel told him.

The fable tells us a truth: real knowledge comes from practices.

一天, 老马让小马驮着半口袋麦子到磨坊去磨面。

小马驮着口袋朝着磨坊跑去。忽然,一天小河挡住了去路,河水哗哗地流着。小马为难了,怎么办呢?它向四周望了望,看见一头老牛在河边吃草。小马问道:”牛伯伯,请您告诉我,这条河我能趟过去吗?”老牛说:”能。谁很浅,刚没小腿。”
小马听了老牛的话,正准备过河,突然丛树上跳下一只松鼠,拦住它大叫道:”小马,别过河!河水会把你淹死的。昨天,我的一个伙伴就是掉到这条河里淹死的!”小马不知如何是好,决定回家问妈妈。

小马把路上的经历告诉了妈妈。妈妈说:”孩子,光听别人说是不行的,你自己亲自去试一试,就知道答案了。”

小马回到河边,刚要下水,松鼠又大叫起来:”小马,你不要命啦?”小马说:”让我试试吧。”它一面回答一面下了河,小心地趟了过去。原来河水既不像老牛说的那样浅也不像松鼠说的那样深。

这个故事告诉我们的道理就是:实践出真知。

How a Farmer Saved the Snake
(农夫救蛇)

One day, it was snowing heavily. It was white everywhere. A farmer had cut some wood and was coming home when he saw a rattlesnake on the road, numb with cold.

“Oh, little snake. Why don’t you stay at home in such cold weather? Look, you’re freezing. How poor you are!” The farmer said to himself. “What can I do for you? Make a fire to warm you? No, it’s snowing so hard, and I have only so small a bundle of wood. My family are waiting for the wood to cook”

The farmer turned round and round anxiously and then said, “Ok. I’ll put you under my clothes. It’s warm there.” He unbuttoned his clothes and put the snake inside just near his chest.

Some time later, the snake came to life gradually.

The warmth of the old farmer had not changed its cruel nature. It opened its mouth and bit at the farmer right at the chest.

“Oh, my god! How cruel you are! I saved you, but you bit me. Why?” As he was saying, he took out the snake and threw it on the ground.

But the farmer was already poisoned and was dying. Only at this time did he realized that he had done something wrong. “I took pity on him, but he bit me in return.”
The story means that evil men cannot change their nature even if we are kind enough to them.

在一个大雪纷飞的夜晚,一个农夫砍柴回家,在路上发现了一条冻僵了的响尾蛇。
“乖乖,这么冷的天你怎么不待在洞里,跑到外边来了呢?看把你冻成这个样子,多可怜呀!”农夫自言自语道:”怎么办呢?我用火给你烤烤。可是不行啊,这么大的雪,我就砍了这一小捆柴火,家里还等着用呢。”

农夫焦急地转来转去。”有了,我把你放在怀里,不是也很暖和吗?”于是,农夫解开坏,把冻僵的响尾蛇揣在了怀里。

过了一个时辰,响尾蛇慢慢地苏醒过来了,但是它恢复了本性,狠狠咬了农夫一口。

“哎呀,你这个坏东西,我救活了你,你怎么还咬我呢?”农夫说着,把响尾蛇掏出来扔到了一边。

可是农夫中了蛇毒。他奄奄一息,临死的时候才明白过来,说道:”我怜惜恶人,可是恶人的本性难改,不会怜惜我呀!”

这个故事是说:对恶人即使仁至义尽,其本性也是不会改变的。

saying:

His spear against his shield
(自相矛盾)

A man of the state of Chu had a spear and a shield for sale. He was praising his shield.

“My shield is so strong that nothing can pierce it through.”

He also sang praises of his spear.

“My spear is so strong that it can pierce through anything.”

What would happen, he was asked, if your spear is used to pierce your shield?
He was unable to give an answer.

It is impossible for the strongest shield to coexist with a spear that finds nothing impenetrable.

从前,有一个卖矛和盾的楚国人。他大声的夸奖他的盾:”我的盾是最坚固的,没有东西能刺透它。” 接着,他又赞美他的矛, 说:”我的矛是最锐利的,它能刺透任何东西。”有人问他:”那如果用你的矛去刺你的盾,会怎么样呢?”
卖矛和盾的人回答不出来了。

世界上不可能同时存在最坚固的盾和最锐利的矛。

Draw a Snake and Add Feet to It
(画蛇添足)

An official of the ancient State of Chu awarded a pot of wine to his men after the ceremony of Spring Sacrifice. One man said, “We have only one pot of wine. It’s not enough for all of us but sufficient for one. Let’s determine who’ll have the wine by drawing a snake on the ground. He who finishes first will have the wine.”

The others agreed. Very soon, one man finished his snake. He was about to drink the wine when he saw the others were still busy drawing. He said complacently ,”How slowly you are !I still have enough time to add feet to my snake.” But before he finished the feet, another man finished his snake and grabbed the pot from him, saying, “Whoever has seen a snake with feet? Yours is not a snake. So the wine should be mine!” He drank the wine. The man adding the feet to the snake had to give in and could only regret his foolishness.

From that story comes the idiom “Draw a snake and add feet to it”. Now people use this idiom to illustrate the truth that going too far is as bad as not going far enough.

楚国有一个官员,在春天祭过了祖宗之后,便将一壶酒赏给他的办事人员喝。有人提议:”我们只有一壶酒,肯定不够我们大家喝的,一个人喝倒是绰绰有余。我们每人在地上画一条蛇,谁画得最快,就把这壶酒给他。” 大家都同意了。有一个人很快就把蛇画好了。他正打算喝这壶酒时,看见别人都还忙着画呢。他就得意扬扬地说:”你们画得好慢呀,等我再画上几只脚吧!” 他的蛇脚还没画完,另一个人已经把蛇画好了。那人把酒壶夺了过去说:”有谁见过长脚的蛇?你画的不是蛇,这壶酒应该是我的了。”说罢,就喝起酒来。那个给蛇画脚的人没办法,只能懊悔自己的愚蠢。

“画蛇添足”这个成语就是从这个故事来的。现在人们用它来说明这么个道理:做的过分和做的不够是一样有害的。

Making His Mark
(刻舟求剑)

A man from the state of Chu was crossing a river. In the boat, his sword fell into the water by his carelessness. Immediately he made a mark on the boat.
“This is where my sword fell off”, he said.

When the boat stopped, he jumped into the water to look for his sword at the place where he had marked the boat.

The boat had moved but the sword had not. Is this not a very foolish way to look for a sword?

从前,一个楚国人在坐船过河时,不小心把他的剑掉入了水中。他马上在船上做了个记号。”这是我的剑掉下去的地方”,他说。船停下来后,他就根据船上的记号跳入水中寻找他的剑。

船在移动但他的剑并没有。用这种方式来找剑难道不是非常愚蠢的吗?

The Vigil by the Tree Stump
(守株待兔)

In the state of Song, there was a farmer in whose fields stood a tree stump. One day, a hare ran to his field. Running too fast,it dashed against the stump and broke its neck, died. So the farmer abandoned his plough and waited by the tree stump, hoping to get another hare. He did not get his hare but became a laughing stock in the state.

从前宋国有个农民,他的田地中有一颗树桩。一天,一只跑的飞快的兔子撞在了树桩上,扭断了脖子而死。从此,那个农民荒废了他的耕作,天天等在树桩旁,希望能再得到只兔子。当然,兔子是没等到,他自己却成了宋国的笑柄。

Quench One’s Thirst by Looking at Plums
(望梅止渴)

Among the outstanding figures of Chinese history, famous either for their intelligence or treachery, Cao Cao is one of the foremost.

One hot day, he marched out his troops under a burning sun in a mountainous area. Bewilderingly he lost the way. The journey was long and the sun was scorching. After their fruitless and tiresome march, all voiced their great dissatisfaction with the leadership of CAO Cao. They bitterly complained of their great thirst. The antagonism of the soldiers was growing fast and they were on the verge of staging a mutiny. The subordinate officers were helpless to cope with the situation.

Cao Cao, however, in the nick of time cleverly and treacherously gave orders to his troops to march to the nearby plum trees for a rest and announced that soldiers would be allowed to eat the juicy sour fruit as much as they desired.

At the thought of the sour fruit the soldiers’ complaint of great thirst as well as the antagonistic feeling were quickly forgotten.
Based on the story the later generation formed the proverb “to quench one’s thirst by looking up at plums”, to illustrate a case where one takes comfort in believing that they have already attained that which was expected or desired.

曹操是中国历史上以聪明奸诈而闻名的杰出人物。

一天,他在赤日下山区行军,迷失了路径,烈日当头而路途又遥远,士兵们在长时间的疲劳行军后,口渴难耐。于是众人都对曹操的领导表示不满,士兵的反抗情绪异常紧张,即将形成背叛的状态。下级官长不知如何应付这危机。曹操在这紧要关头机敏下令:士兵行至前面的梅林休息。并且准许士兵尽量吃多汁的酸梅,不受约束。

士兵们想着酸梅的味道,口渴就立刻缓和下来,反抗情绪也安定了。

后人用上面的故事作成成语”望梅止渴”来比喻一个人幻想目的已经到达了以安慰自己的情况。

Sleep On Brushwood and Taste Gall
(卧薪尝胆)

During the Spring and Autumn period (770-476BC), the State of Wu launched an attack against the State of Yue. The King of Wu was seriously wounded and soon died. His son Fu Chai became the new King. Fu was determined to revenge. He drilled his army rigidly until it was a perfect fighting force. Three years later, he led his army against the State of Yue and caught its king Gou Jian. Fu took him to the State of Wu.

In order to avenge his father’s death, Fu let him live in a shabby stone house by his father’s tomb and ordered him to raise horses for him. Gou pretended to be loyal to Fu but he never forgot his humiliation. Many years later, he was set free. Gou secretly accumulated a military force after he went back to his own state. In order to make himself tougher he slept on firewood and ate a gall-bladder before having dinner and going to bed every night. At the same time he administered his state carefully, developing agriculture and educating the people. After a few years, his country became strong. Then Gou seized a favorable opportunity to wipe off the State of Wu.

Later, people use it to describe one who endures self-imposed hardships to strengthen one’s resolve to realize one’s ambition.

春秋时期,吴国和越国之间进行了一场战争,吴王不幸受了重伤,不久就死了。他的儿子夫差作了吴国的新国王,他发誓要替父亲报仇。于是,他严格的操练他的士兵,把他们训练成了一支非常厉害的军队。三年以后,他对越国发动了战争,抓住了越王勾践,把他带回了吴国。

为了复仇,夫差让勾践住在他父亲墓旁的破石屋里天天看墓、喂马。勾践表面上服从,心里面却想着复仇。几年以后,勾践被放回越国。他立刻开始秘密聚集一支军队。为了提醒自己不要忘了报仇,他睡在柴上,还每天在吃饭睡觉前尝一尝苦胆。同时,他专心治理国家,大力发展农业,加强民众教育。几年后,越国又变得强大起来,然后,勾践抓住一个适当的机会消灭了吴国。

后来,人们用它来形容人刻苦自励以达到自己定下的目标。

Professed love of what one really fears
(叶公好龙)

In the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), there lived in Chu a person named Chu Zhuliang, who addressed himself as “Lord Ye”. It’s said that this Lord Ye was very fond of dragons. The walls had dragons painted on them. The beams, pillars, doors and the windows were all carved with them. As a result, his love for dragons was spread out. When the real dragon in heaven heard of this Lord Ye, he was deeply moved. He decided to visit Lord Ye to thank him.

You might think Lord Ye was very happy to see a real dragon. But, actually, at very the sight of the creature, he was scared out of his wits and ran away as fast as he could.

From then on, people knew that Lord Ye only loved pictures or carvings which look like dragons, not the real thing.

春秋楚国沈诸梁,自称”叶公”。 据说,这位叶公爱龙成癖,家里的梁、柱、门、窗上都雕着龙,墙上也画着龙。 就这样,叶公爱好龙的名声,被人们传扬开了。天上的真龙,听说人间有这么一位叶公,对它如此喜爱,很受感动,决定去叶公家对他表示谢意。

人们也许会想叶公看见真龙时会有多高兴。实际上,当叶公看见那条龙时,顿时吓得魂飞魄散,赶紧逃走。

从此人们明白了叶公爱好的其实并不是真龙,而是似龙非龙的东西而已。

Three at Dawn and Four at Dusk
(朝三暮四)

Once upon a time, In the state of Song, there lived a man who kept monkeys. He was very fond of monkeys and kept a large number of them. He could understand the monkeys and they could also understand him. He reduced the amount of food for his own family in order to satisfy the monkey’s demands. After a while his family did not have enough to eat, so he wanted to limit he food for the monkeys. But he was afraid that the monkeys would not submit to him. Before doing that he played a trick on them: “If I give you three chestnuts in the morning and four in the evening, would that be enough?” he asked the monkeys. All the monkeys rose up in a fury. After a while, he said, “If I give you four chestnuts in the morning and three in the evening, would that be enough?” All the monkeys lay on the floor, very happy with this proposal.

从前,在宋国有一个养猴子的人。他非常喜欢猴子,所以养了许多。他很了解猴子, 猴子们也能够懂得他的意思。为了让猴子们吃饱,他减少了家里的粮食。不久,他家的粮食不够吃的了,他就想减少给猴子们的食物。但他怕猴子们不会听他的。于是,他先哄骗它们:”如果早上我给你们三个栗子,晚上给你们四个栗子,够吗?” 猴子们都愤怒的表示不同意。过了会儿,他问:”那如果早上我给你们四个栗子,晚上给你们三个栗子,这样够了吗?”于是猴子都乐得躺到地上,很高兴地同意了。

folktale:

Chang’er Flies to the Moon
(嫦娥奔月)

The Earth once had 10 suns circling it. One day all 10 suns appeared at once, scorching the planet with their heat. A skillful archer named Hou Yi saved the Earth. He shot down all but one of the suns.As his reward, the Heavenly Queen Mother gave Hou Yi the Elixir of Immortality, but she warned him that he must use it wisely. Hou Yi ignored her advice. Corrupted by fame and fortune, he became a tyrannical leader. Chang-Er, his beautiful wife, could no longer stand by and watch him abuse his power so she stole his Elixir and fled to the moon to escape his angry wrath. Thus began the legend of the beautiful woman in the moon, the Moon Fairy.

相传古时候地球被10个太阳包围着。有一天10个太阳同时出现在天空中,巨大的热量几乎把地球烤焦了。多亏一位名叫后弈的神箭手射下了9个太阳,地球才得以保住。为了奖励后弈,王母娘娘赐给后弈一种长生不老药,但是王母警告他必须正当使用。然而后弈没有理会王母娘娘的警告,他被名利冲昏了头脑,变成了一个暴君。后弈美丽的妻子嫦娥对他的暴行再也不能袖手旁观,于是她偷走了后弈的长生不老药,并且飞到月亮上以逃避后弈的狂怒。从此就有了关于月宫仙子,这个月亮上的美丽女人的传说。

Jingwei Determines to Fill up the Sea
(精卫填海)

On Fajiu Hill grew a lot of mulberry trees. Among them lived a bird which looked like a crow, but had a colourful head, a white bill and two red claws. Its call sounded like its name: Jingwei. The bird was said to be Emperor Yandi’s youngest daughter, who, while playing on the East Sea, had been drowned and never returned. She had turned into Jingwei, and the bird would often carry bits of twigs and stones all the way from the west mountains to the East Sea to fill it up.
It is so hard for a little bird to fill the sea up in such a way! But it is still commendable for its determination and tenacity.

精卫是海边的一种小鸟。这种鸟外表和乌鸦差不多,头上的羽毛有花纹,嘴巴是白色的,脚是红色的,叫声听上去就像它的名字一样:Jingwei。这种小鸟有个奇特的习性,就是经常把岸上的小树枝、小石块用嘴衔着丢到大海里。
这种鸟相传是远古时代炎帝的小女儿女娃变成的。女娃去东海边游玩,一去就没有回家,原来她不幸跌到海里淹死了。女娃死后变成一只鸟儿,就是精卫鸟。精卫鸟因为东海会淹死人,就发誓要填平它。于是,不管春夏秋冬,酷暑严寒,刮风下雨,精卫鸟每天都衔了西山的小树枝、小石块,丢到大海里。
一只小鸟想用这种办法填平大海,真是谈何容易!不过它有这样的决心和毅力,却是难能可贵的。

Cowherd and Weaving Girl
(牛郎织女)

Long ago, there was a boy, clever, diligent and honest. Orphaned at an early age, he was very poor. However, he adopted an abandoned old buffalo, which proved to be very loyal and relieved him a lot from the hard labor in the fields. The two enjoyed a very good relationship, being seen together all the time. Villagers from far and near came to know him by the name of the Cowherd.

At the same time, the youngest of the seven celestial princesses had grown tired of the privileged but secluded life in the heavenly palace. She longed for a mundane life she often saw down beneath her. That was a very pervert idea to cherish in heaven. Yet, determined to pursue what she deemed to be her own happiness, she sneaked out and descended onto the earth and to the sudden happiness of the Cowherd with whom she had secretly fallen in love all along in heaven.

They married and had a lovely boy and a girl. While the Cowherd worked in the fields with his old pal the buffalo, the heavenly princess weaved at home to help support the family. Villagers all admired her excellent weaving skill and started learning from her. She was now well-known as the Weaving Girl.

The family lived moderately but peacefully and happily until the girl’s celestial royal family found her missing and traced her to the village. By the way, it is popularly believed that a day in heaven accounts for years on the earth. The years she had spent with the Cowherd was but a day or so by the celestial calendar.

The Celestial Empress was in such a wrath that she gave her daughter only two choices: to go back home or see her husband and children destroyed. She had but to leave.

The old buffalo suddenly began to speak to the bereaved and now astonished young man, saying that he was dying in no time and asking him to use his hide as a vehicle to catch up with his wife. And off he sailed to heaven taking his young son and daughter in two baskets carried by a shoulder pole.

Fearing that the young man would catch up, the empress took out her hair spin and drew a big river across the sky, known to the Chinese as the Silvery River (the Milky Way in the West). She wanted to separate the family forever.

However, all the magpies in the world, deeply touched by the story, came to their rescue. Each year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, they would flock together to form a bridge so that the family may enjoy a brief reunion.

很久很久以前,有一个聪明、勤奋、诚实的男孩。他从小就是孤儿,生活很贫苦。但是他养了一头老水牛,这头水牛也是被人抛弃的,他对男孩非常忠诚,每天尽力的帮他干农活。他们相依为命,形影不离。因此人们都把这个男孩子叫做”牛郎”。
那时,天庭中有七位公主。其中最小的一位厌倦了天庭中优越但是与世隔绝的生活,她常常从空中偷看人间,非常向往人间平凡的生活。尽管这种想法十分大逆不道,但是七仙女下定决心要追求自己的幸福,于是她私自下界来到人间。因为她在偷看人间的时候就偷偷爱上了牛郎,所以她到人间之后就嫁给了牛郎。

后来他们生了一对儿女,夫妇俩个男耕女织,生活过的十分美满。由于七仙女纺织的技艺非常精湛,村民们纷纷向他学习,于是人们就称她为织女。

但是天庭终于知道了织女私自下界的事情,并且很快就在一个小村庄里找到了牛郎和织女。但是,”天上一天,地上一年”,这时候织女已经和牛郎生活了一年多了。
王母暴跳如雷,她给了织女两条路:离开人间或者眼看着丈夫和孩子被杀。织女无奈,指的选择离开。

这是,老牛突然开口对悲痛欲绝的牛郎说话了,牛郎大吃一惊。老牛告诉牛郎说它马上就要死了,它死后牛郎可以剥下它的皮,然后踩着它去追织女。于是牛郎把一双儿女放在两个筐里,用一根扁担挑着去追妻子。

王母害怕牛郎追上织女,于是就拔下头上的簪子,在天空中划出了一条大河,就是后来的银河,她想用这条河把牛郎一家永远拆散。

牛郎织女的故事感动了人间的喜鹊,于是所有的喜鹊都赶来帮助这对夫妇。每年的七月初七,喜鹊们就会搭成一座桥,让牛郎织女一家人在桥上团聚。

Pangu Separates the Sky from the Earth
(盘古开天)

The sky and the earth were at first one blurred entity like an egg. Pangu was born into it. The separation of the sky and the earth took eighteen thousand years-the yang which was light and pure rose to become the sky, and the yin which was heavy and murky sank to form the earth. Between them was Pangu, who went through nine changes every day, his wisdom greater than that of the sky and his ability greater than that of the earth. Every day the sky rose ten feet higher, the earth became ten feet thicker, and Pangu grew ten feet taller. Another eighteen thousand years passed, and there was an extremely high sky, an extremely thick earth, and an extremely tall Pangu. After Pangu died, his head turned into the Five Sacred Mountains (Mount Tai, Mount Heng, Mount Hua, Mount Heng, Mount Song), his eyes turned into the moon and the sun, his blood changed into water in river and sea, his hair into grass. In all, the universe and Pangu combine in one.

最初,天地混沌未开,像一个大鸡蛋,盘古就生在其中。经过一万八千年,天和地分开了,阳清之物上升为天(民间至今有蛋清上升为天之说),阴浊之物下沉为地(民间至今有蛋黄为地之说)。盘古在天和地的中间,一日变九次(”九”是虚数,意思是多),神奇超过天,能力超过地。天每日增高一丈,地每日增厚一丈,盘古也一日长一丈。这样又过了一万八千年,天已经很高了,地已经很厚了,盘古身材也很长了。等到盘古死的时候,他的头化为了五岳,眼睛化为了太阳、月亮。身上的血液脂膏变成了江与海,身上的汗毛和头发变成了草木。总之,宇宙即盘古,盘古即宇宙。

 Dong Yong’s Wife
(七仙女)

In the Han Dynasty in Qiancheng lived a man by the name of Dong Yong. His mother died when he was a child. While living with his father, he worked hard in the fields. Each time they went out, he would put his old father on a small cart and follow it on foot. When his father died, he was willing to sell himself into slavery for a little money for the funeral. Knowing that he was a virtuous man, his master gave him ten thousand coins and allowed him to go home.

Dong was in mourning for three years. When it was over, he decided to return to his master to work as a slave. On his way he met a woman who said to him, “I am willing to marry you.” So they went together to his master. “I have given you money,” the master said to him. “Thanks to your generous help,” Dong said, “I was able to bury my father.

Although I am a man of low birth, I know I ought to work for you to repay your kindness.” Then the master asked, “What is your wife good at?” “She can weave,” Dong answered. “If you insist on doing something for me,” said the master. “please ask your wife to weave a hundred bolts of fine silk for me.” Dong’s wife set to work in the master’s house. Ten days later the hundred bolts were ready.

When she came out, she said to Dong, “I am a weaver in Heaven. The Emperor of Heaven ordered me to help you pay your debt because he was moved by your filial piety.” After saying these words she flew into the sky and vanished.

汉朝的时候,在乾城住着一个名叫董永的人。他的母亲在他年幼的时候就去世了。董永从小和父亲相依为命,每天在田里辛勤劳作。每次外出的时候,董永总是让年迈的父亲坐在买车上,自己跟着马车步行。父亲去世后,董永卖身为奴,用卖身的钱埋葬了父亲。但是他的主人得知了董永的为人之后大为感动,就给了他一千个钱,让他回家去了。

董永为父亲守孝3年期满后,决定回到主人家继续为奴。在路上,他遇到一个姑娘,姑娘对他说”我要嫁给你。于是他们两个人一起来到了主人的家里。主人对董永说:”我不是已经给你钱了吗,你为什么还要回来?”董永说:”谢谢您慷慨无私的帮助,我才能够埋葬了我的父亲。我虽然出身卑微,但是我也知道要知恩图报。”于是主人问道:”那么你的妻子会干些什么呢?”董永说她会织布。最后主人说:”既然你执意要为我干活,那么就请你的妻子为我织100匹上好的丝绸吧。”所以董永的妻子就留下来开始织布。她只用了10天就把绸缎织好了。

董永的妻子从房间里出来后,对董永说:”我是天庭的织女。你的孝心感动了玉皇大帝,所以他命我下凡来帮你还债。”说完,她就飞上天空,消失了。

 


1,290 Views