Sunday, March 20, 2011

愚公移山 The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains

The name of Yu Gong literally means "foolish old man", while his neighbour who tried to stop him is ironically called " wise old man".  The story was very popular and widely quoted in the 1950's and 60's when  Chairman Mao was leading the Chinese people to build the new communist China. A lot of things done at that time indeed turned out to be foolish and impractical. But I think it must be a lot of fun too when all the people are working together towards one same goal. Nowadays, people always question why Yu Gong didn't move his family to another place instead of trying to move the mountains. Do you think Yu Gong is foolish or smart? What's your idea?

古时候,愚公的房子前面有两座大山,一座叫太行山,一座叫王屋山。每次愚公出门到南边去,都得绕过这两座山,很不方便。于是,他把家里所有的人都叫来,对他们说: “我下决心要挖掉我们家门口的两座大山,你们说好不好?”大家都同意,只有愚公的妻子觉得不行, 她问:“你这样的力气挖一座小山都很困难,别说太行王屋这样的大山了。 而且,挖出来的泥土,石头放在哪里?”“把它们搬到北海去,”她的儿子回答.
第二天,愚公的一家开始挖山,他们用篮子,水桶把泥土和石头搬到北海。 去一次北海要花很长时间,冬天出发,第二年夏天才回来。愚公的邻居老太太有一个孙子,也过来帮忙。
愚公的另一个邻居知道了这事,觉得愚公太傻了,可是愚公说:“虽然我已经九十九岁了,但是我死了以后有儿子,儿子死了有孙子,子子孙孙不停地挖,但山不会再高了,怎么挖不平?” 他带领全家继续挖山。
天上的大神听到了愚公说的话,很感动,就派两个巨人背走了两座大山。

The PinYin Version:

gu3shi2hou4, yu2gong1de  fang2zi  qian2mian4  you3  liang3zuo4  da4shan1.  yi2zuo4  jiao4  tai4hang2shan1,  yi2zuo4  jiao4  wang2wu1shan1.  mei3ci4  yu2gong1  chu1men2 dao4  nan2bian1qu4,  dou1  dei3  rao4guo4  zhe4  liang2zuo4shan1,  hen3bu4  fang1bian4.  yu2shi4,  ta1 ba3 jia1li3   suo3you3de ren2  dou1 jao4lai2,  dui4  ta1men  shuo1: " wo3  xia4jue2xin1  yao4 wa1diao4  wo3men  jia1men2kou3de  liang2zuo4 da4shan1, ni3men  shuo1  hao3bu4hao3?"  da4jia1  dou1  ton2yi4,  zhi1you3  yu2gong1de qi1zi  jue2de  bu4xing2,  ta1wen4:"ni3 zhe4yang4de  li4qi4  wa1  yi2zuo4  xiao3shan1  dou1  hen3 kun4nan2,  bie2shuo1  tai4hang2  wang2wu1  zhe4yang4de  da4shan1le.  er2qie3, wa1chu1lai2de  ni2tu3,  shi2tou  fang4zai4  na3li3?"  "ba3 ta1men  ban1dao4  bei3hai3qu4," ta1de  er2zi  hui2da2.


di4er4tian1,  yu2gong1de  yi4jia1  kai1shi3  wa1shan1,  ta1men yong4 lan2zi, shui3tong3  ba3ni2tu3  he2 shi 2tou  ban1dao4  bei3hai3.  qu4 yi2ci4 bei3hai3  yao4 hua1  hen3chang2  shi2jian1,  dong1tian1 chu1fa1,  di4er4nian2  xia4tian1 cai2 hui2lai2.  yu2gong1de  lin2ju1  lao3tai4tai  you3 yi2ge4  sun1zi,  ye3  guo4la2  bang1mang2.

yu2gong1de  ling4yi2ge4 lin2ju1  zhi1dao4le  zhe4shi4,  jue2de  yu2gong1  tai4 sha3le. ke3shi4  yu2gong1 shuo1: " sui1ran2  wo3  yi3jing1  jiu3shi2jiu3sui4le,  dan4shi4  wo3si3le  yi3hou4  you3  er2zi ,  er2zi  si3le  you3  sun1zi,  zi3zi3 sun1sun1  bu4tign2de wa1, dan4 shan1 bu2hui4  zai4 gao1le, zen3me  wa1 bu4ping2?" ta1  dai4ling3 quan2jia1 ji4xu4  wa1shan1.

tian1shang4de  da4shen2  ting1dao4le  yu2gong1 shuo1de hua4, hen3gan3dong4,  jiu4  pai4  liang3ge4  ju4ren2  bei1zou3le  liang3zuo4 da4shan1.


Translation:
In ancient times, in the front of Yu Gong's house, there were two big mountains. One was called TaiHang Mountain; the other was called WangWu Mountain. Every time Yu Gong went outside to go to the South, he had to go around the two mountains, and it was very inconvenient. Thus, he called all the family members together, and said to them, " I have made up my mind to dig away the two big mountains in front of our house. What do you say? "  All the people agreed except Yu Gong's wife, who didn't think it would work. She asked:" It would be very hard to even dig a small hill with your strength, not to mention to dig big mountains like TaiHang and WangWu. Besides, where can you deposit the mud and rocks dug out?" Her son answered:  "Move them to the North Sea."
The next day, Yu Gong's family started to dig the mountains. They carried the mud and rocks to the North Sea with baskets and buckets.  One trip to the North Sea took a long time. They left in winter, and came back the next summer. An old lady who was Yu Gong's neighbor had a grandson. He also came over to help. Yu Gong's another neighbor learned about this, and felt Yu Gong was so foolish. But Yu Gong said, "Although I'm already ninety-nine years old, I have my sons after I died. My sons have my grandsons after they died. Sons and grandsons dig on without stop. The mountains will not grow higher. How can't I level them?" So he led his family to continue with the work.
The god in the heaven heard Yu Gong's words, and was very moved. So he sent two giants to carry the two big mountains away.

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