(Translation) 2019 守株待兔

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Original Script

宋人有耕田者,田中有株,兔走,觸株折頸而死,因釋其耒而守株,冀復得兔,兔不可復得,而身為宋國笑。今欲以先王之政,治當世之民,皆守株之類也。古者丈夫不耕,草木之實足食也;婦人不織,禽獸之皮足衣也。不事力而養足,人民少而財有餘,故民不爭。是以厚賞不行,重罰不用而民自治。今人有五子不為多,子又有五子,大父未死而有二十五孫,是以人民眾而貨財寡,事力勞而供養薄,故民爭,雖倍賞累罰而不免於亂。 《韓非.五蠹》


Translation

Student Translation : Ethan

There was a Song man who plowed fields, in the fields was a tree stump. A hare ran, collided with the tree stump, broke its neck and died. So the Song man untied his plow and guarded the tree stump in expectation that he would obtain another hare. As for the hare [however], the man could not obtain one again. And so the Song man became himself the object of statewide laughter. All those now who desire to rule the people of today with the laws of kings past belong to the variety who guard tree stumps. In the past, the fruit of plants and trees were enough to eat without grown men plowing; the skins of bird and beast were enough to clothe without women weaving. No strength was needed to have enough for nourishment; the people were few in number and had a surplus of wealth, and so they did not fight, meaning that without circulating large rewards and using heavy punishment, the people ruled themselves. Now, a person does not consider five a lot of sons to have; sons also have five sons and grandfathers live to have twenty five grandchildren, meaning that the people are many and the wealth is scarce; strength is exhausted though provisions remain thin, and so the people fight. Though we may multiply rewards and aggravate punishments, we cannot avoid turmoil.


  • Discussion Questions:

(YO) I like your way of translating 大父未死而有二十五孫 (grandfathers live to have twenty five grandchildren). But for 是以 that follows it, "meaning..." doesn't seem to make it clear. Hanfei is saying that people are having too many children and because of that (是以) people are many and wealth is scarce.