九龍華仁書院安省舊生會

Wah Yan College Kowloon Alumni Association of Ontario

Welcome to WYKAAO

Contact Us

《Chinese Tales for Everyone: Proverb Related_17-朝三暮四;18-守株待兔》_ Kong Shiu Loon (53)

Proverb Related 

(17) Monkey Ration

Long ago in Song State there was a man who loved monkeys. He kept a dozen of them in his garden and treated them as friends. After two years he got to know the monkeys well and understood their thinking.

Because he had spent too much time with his monkeys he lagged behind working and making money. The day came when he realized he had to cut the food for the monkeys.

The next morning, he went to the garden to feed his monkey friends. He presented each of them with three chestnuts saying: “Here is your morning meal, and I will give you four chestnuts for dinner later in the day.”

The monkeys snatched their rations and protested by jumping and jeering. They opened their mouths wide showing their teeth. The man was taken aback, feeling intimidated. Then he recalled that monkeys were practical animals.

He signaled the monkeys to calm down and gave each of them one more chestnut. He said; “From now on I shall give you each four nuts in the morning and three in the afternoon.”

           Hearing what the man said the monkeys cheered to signal their acceptance and appreciation.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: This is an English narration of a passage in the book 列子》. The original title 朝三暮四 told us how important it was to present an offer to suit the receiver’s liking, or in the same vein, how to fool someone with a tricky offer. However, the same phrase is now used in popular literature to mean people’s frequent change of behavior and commitment.

宋有狙公者,爱狙,养之成群,能解狙之意,狙亦得公之心。损其家口,充狙之欲。俄而匮焉,将限狙之食,恐众狙之不驯于己也。先诳之曰:“与若芧,朝三而暮四,足乎?”众狙皆起而怒。俄而曰:“与若芧,朝四而暮三,足乎?”众狙皆伏而喜。
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Proverb Related

(18) A Free Gift for Idling

One day long ago, a farmer was working in his field when he saw a hare running by in high speed. It ran so fast that it bumped into a big tree near his field. It fainted and became motionless.

The farmer put down his hoe and took the hare home for an easy meal.

He believed that he would be lucky again and again. He went to his field every day thereafter, and sat down to wait for a hare to bump into his tree.

No hare ever came and his field became barren.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: This is an English narration of an allegory in the book Hon Fei Zi 韓非子》. The original title 守株待兔 has become a proverb to denote that people who rely on luck would end up idling and non-productive.

宋人有耕者。田中有株。兔走触株折颈而死。 因释其耒而守株,,冀复得兔。兔不可得,而身為宋國笑。

You are here: Home Features 《Chinese Tales for Everyone: Proverb Related_17-朝三暮四;18-守株待兔》_ Kong Shiu Loon (53)