(Translation) 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》


Student Translation : Petra Sváková

In the state of Song, there was a man who was ploughing a field. In the middle of the field, there was a tree stem, a hare was running [there], ran into the tree stem, broke its neck and died. Therefore, [the man] put down his plough and guarded the tree stem [while] hoping to get a hare again. [However,] the hare could not be gotten again and the man himself became a laughing stock of the state of Song. Now, there are wishes to govern people of the current generation with the ruling of the former kings, [these are] all the [same] kind as guarding the tree stem. In the old days, a man didn't plough, the fruits of plants and trees were enough to eat; a wife didn't weave, the leather of birds and beasts was enough to wear. [While] not labouring physical strength, [still] the feeding was enough; there were a few people and [their] wealth was abundant, thus the people didn't fight. For this reason, generous rewards didn't work, heavy punishments weren't used and the people ruled themselves. Now, people have five sons and don't think [it's] many, the sons have again five sons [each], the grandfather hasn't died and has twenty-five grandsons. Therefore, the people are numerous and the wealth is little, labouring strength is tough and nurturing is poor, thus people fight. Even though [you give] twice as many awards and aggravate the punishments, [you] cannot avoid the chaos.

  • Discussion Questions:

+ (YO) 株 would be 'tree stump' rather than 'stem'.
+ (YO) 今欲以先王之政,治當世之民,皆守株之類也 would be "Now, wishing to govern the people of the current generation with the rulings of the former kings must be of the same kind as guarding tree stump," taking the first two clauses as the nominative (subject).
+ (YO) You mean "few people" not "a few people"?