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Chengyu #1: Do nothing and be happy

Updated: Jul 26, 2018

How do a Chinese say "to wait for a windfall?"

Is it possible to live happily without effort?

Let's discover it together in this #chengyu!


Chengyu are idiomatic expressions very used in Chinese; they usually are made of four characters which summarise a #fable. I'll first write the story in Mandarin, then you can try to translate it on your own before reading my #translation!


守株待兔

宋国有个农夫种着几亩地,他的地头上有一棵大树。一天,他在地里干活,忽然看见一只兔子箭一股地飞奔过来,猛的撞在那棵大树上,一下子把脖子折断了,蹬蹬腿就死了。

这个农夫飞快的跑过去,把兔子捡起来, 高兴地说:“这真是一点劲没费,白捡了个大便宜,回去可以美美地吃上一顿了。“ 他拎着兔子一边往家走,一边得意地想:

“我的运气真好,没准明天还会有兔子跑来,我可不能放过这样的便宜。”

第二天,他到地里,也不干活,只守着那棵大树,等着兔子撞过来。结果,等了一天什么也没等到。他却不甘心,从此,天天坐在那棵大树下等着兔子来撞死。

他等呀等呀,直等到地里的野草长得比庄稼都高了,连个兔子影也没有再见到。

“守株待兔”的成语话就是从这个故事来的。人们用它来比喻不想努力,而希望获得成功的侥幸心理。


To stand by a stump waiting for hares


In the state of Song, there was a farmer cultivating a field of a few acres. On the margin of his field there was a big tree. One day, he was working in the field, when suddenly he saw a hare dashing closer like an arrow; it bumped violently against that big tree and all of a sudden snapped its neck. It kicked a little its legs, then died.

The farmer quickly came over in a run. He lifted the hare and said, happily: "This is really effortless, idly collecting such great profit! When I'll be back home I can eat my fill!" Carrying the hare he walked towards home as he thought, pleased with himself:

"My luck is really good, maybe tomorrow there will be another hare running by, I shouldn't let a profit like this slip by."

The day after he came back to the field, but didn't work at all, he only stood beside the big tree, waiting for a hare to bump against it. As a result, he waited all day for nothing. However, he persisted stubbornly, and since then he sat all days under that big tree waiting for hares to come and be knocked down.

He waited and waited, until the weeds in the field grew taller than the crops; he never saw again even the shadow of a hare.

The chengyu "To stand by a stump waiting for hares" comes right from this story. People use it to draw an analogy with the mentality of someone who doesn't want to work hard but hopes to obtain great results by mere luck.


Get it? No great result comes without effort, no pain no gain!

To study a language is a tough quest too, but never impossible if you pour your strength and passion in it.

Have you ever studied Mandarin? How would you translate this chengyu?

Let me know in the comments!

Friendly tip: if you want to learn Chinese language, here's the Free Trial Chinese Language Course with Rocket Chinese!

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