Chinese Idiom : 守株待兔

  • 成语 chéng yǔ (literally “set phrases”) or Chinese idioms are a type of traditional Chinese idiomatic expressions, most of which consist of four characters.
  • 成语 are widely used in Classical Chinese and in the spoken language today. According to the most stringent definition, there are about 5,000 成语 in the Chinese language.
  • 成语 are mostly derived from ancient literature. The meaning of a 成语 usually surpasses the sum of the meanings carried by the four characters, as 成语 are often intimately linked with the myth, story or historical fact from which they were derived.
  • As such, chengyu do not follow the usual grammatical structure and syntax of the modern Chinese spoken language, and are instead highly compact and synthetic.
  • Today we are going to learn one of the idiom stories ” 守株待兔 ” that we have learnt last week. If you can’t recall how to write these characters, here are the links:

守株待兔

从前有一个农民,每天在地里辛苦劳作。一天他正在耕地时听到撞击声;他看到一只兔子躺在树旁。他捡起一看是一只肥大的兔子,他自言自语地说:“既然这么容易捡到兔子,为什么我要整天辛苦劳作呢?”他扔掉锄头,每天躺在树边,梦想有兔子来。当他最终意识到他的愚蠢返回地里时,他发现他的稻谷全死了。

这个故事告诉我们,我们不能等着机会和运气带来的不可预料的收获,也就是说,我们希望不劳而获。

Once upon a time there was a farmer who worked hard in the fields every day. One day, while he was ploughing the fields, he heard a bumping sound. He saw a rabbit lying by the trunk. He picked it up and found that it was a fat rabbit. He thought to himself, “Since it is so easy to get a rabbit like that, why should I work so hard all day long?! He threw his hoe away and lay by the tree every day, dreaming for more rabbits to come. When he finally realized his foolishness and returned to his fields, he found that all his crops were dead.

The story tells us that we should not wait for unexpected gains by trusting chance and luck. Or, we should not hope to get rewards without hard work.

Words / Phrases:
1.
农民
nóng mín
: farmer
2.
辛苦
xīn kǔ
: laborious
3.
劳作
láo zuò
: to do labor work; referring to manual labor.
4.
耕地
gēng dì
: plough; till
5.
撞击
zhuàng jī
: collide
6.
兔子
tù zi
: rabbit
7.
tǎng
: to lie down
8.
jiǎn
: to pick up
9.
肥大
féi dà
: corpulence; overgrowth
10.
自言自语
zì yán zì yǔ
: to talk to oneself; soliloquize
11.
既然
jì rán
: since
12.
容易
róng yì
: easy; simple
13.
扔掉
rēng diào
: throw away; bin; chuck; junk
14.
锄头
chú tóu
: hoe
15.
梦想
mèng xiǎng
: dream
16.
最终
zuì zhōng
: final
17.
意识
yì shi
: realize; consciousness
18.
愚蠢
yú chǔn
: foolish
19.
返回
fǎn huí
: come back
20.
发现
fā xiàn
: discover
21.
稻谷
dào gǔ
: paddy; unhusked rice
22.
: die
23.
机会
jī huì
: opportunity
24.
运气
yùn qì
: fortune; luck
25.
预料
yù liào
: predict
26.
收获
shōu huò
: harvest; gain
27.
不劳而获
bú láo ér huò
: to reap without sowing; profit by other people’s toil
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