Wednesday, December 14, 2011

惊弓之鸟 A Bird Scared by the mere Twang of a Bowstring

战国的时候,有一天,魏国的射箭能手英和魏王站在高台上,看见一只大雁从头顶上飞过。英很肯定地对魏王说:“大王,我可以不用箭,只要拉一下弓,这只大雁就能掉下来。”
“你能有这样的功夫?”魏王不相信地问。
英说:“能。”  等雁飞近时,只见英举起弓,不用箭,拉了一下弦,,只听见“咚”的一声响,正飞着的大雁就从半空中掉了下来。


魏王看到后大吃一惊,连声说:“真有这样的事情!” 他问英是怎么不用箭能把空中飞着的大雁射下来的。
英对魏王讲: “这没什么,因为这是一只受过箭伤的大雁。”
“你怎么知道这只大雁受过箭伤呢?” 魏王更加奇怪了。
英继续对魏王说:“这只大雁飞得又低又慢,叫声悲痛。飞得慢是因为它身上的箭伤很痛,叫声悲痛是因为它离开同伴已经很久了。伤口在痛,还没有好,它心里又害怕。所以听到弓弦的声音后,害怕再次被箭射中,于是就拼命往高处飞。一使劲,本来没有愈合的伤口就又裂开了,痛得忍不住,再也飞不动了,就从空中掉了下来。”


zhan4guo1 deshi2hou, you3yi4tian1,  wei4guo2de    she4jian4  neng2shou3   ying1 he2 wei4wang2  zhan4  zai4 gao1tai2shang4,   kan4jian4   yi4zhi1  da4yan4   cong2   tou2ding3shang4   fei1guo4.  ying1  hen3  ken3ding4de   dui4  wei4wang2  shuo1: " da4wang2,   wo3  ke3yi4   bu2yong4jian4,  zhi3yao4  la1  yi1xia4  gong1,  zhe4zhi2  da4yan4  jiu4neng2  diao4xia4lai2."


"ni3 neng2 you3  zhe4yang4de  gong1fu?"  wei4wang2  bu4xiang1xing4de  wen4.
 ying1 shuo1: "neng2." deng3  yan4  fei1jin4 shi2,   zhi3jian4   ying1  ju3qi3  gong1,   la1le  yi2xia4  xian2,  zhi3ting1jian4   "dong1"de   yi4shen1xiang3,   zheng4   fei1zhe de  da4yan4  jiu4  cong2   ban4kong1 zhong1   diao4le  xia4lai2.


wei4wang2  kan4dao4hou  da4chi1yi1jing1,  lian2shen1shuo1: "zhen1 you3  zhe4yang4de  shi4qing2!" ta1 wen4 ying1  shi4  zen3me    bu2yong4jian4  neng2 ba3  kong1zhong1   fei1zhede   da4yan4  she4xia4lai2de .
ying1  dui4  wei4wang2  jiang3: " zhe4 mei2sehn2me,  yin1wei4  zhe4 shi4  yi4zhi1  shou4guo4  jian4shang1de  da4yan4.

"ni3 zen3me zhi1dao4 zhi4zhi1 da4yan4 shou4guo4 jian4shang1ne?" wei4wang2 geng4jia1 qi2guai4le.
ying1 ji4xu4 dui4 wei4wang2 shuo1: "zhe4zhi1da4yan4 fei1de you4di1you4man4, jiao4dsheng1 bei1tong4. fei1deman4 shi4 yin1wei4 ta1 shen1shang4de jian4shang1 hen3tong4, jiao4sheng1 bei1tong4 shi4 yin1wei4 ta1 li2kai1 tong2ban4 yi3jing1 hen3jiu3le. shang1kou3 zai4tong4, hai2mei2you3 hao3, ta1 xin1li3 you4 hai4pa4. suo3yi3 ting1dao4 gong1xian2de sheng1yin1 hou4, hai4pa4 zai4ci4 bei4 jian4 she4zhong4, yu2shi4 pin1ming4 wang3 gao1chu4 fei1. yi1shi3jin4, ben3lai2 mei2you3 yu4he2de shang1kou3 jiu4 you4 lie4kai1le, tong4de ren3bu2zhu4, zai4 ye3 fei1bu2dong4le, jiu4 cong2 kong1zhong1 diao4le xia4lai2.
Translation:
One day in the Period of Warring States, Ying, a well-known archer, was standing with the king of Wei on a high platform. They saw a wild goose flying over. Ying said to the king with confidence: " Your Majesty, without shooting an arrow, I can bring down the goose for you just by twanging my bow-string."
"Do your have Kongfu like this?" the King said doubtfully.
Ying said, "Yes, I can." When the goose was close, he rapidly held up his bow and pulled the bowstring without an arrow. With the sound "Twang! "the flying goose fell down from the sky.

The king was so surprised that he said repeatedly with amazement: "This is really what happened!"
He asked Ying how he could shoot down the goose that was flying in the sky without an arrow.
Ying said: "This is nothing, because the goose was one that was wounded by an arrow before."The king was more bewildered," how can you know the goose was wounded by an arrow?" Ying continued telling the king: " This goose was flying low and slow, because the old wound was hurting; it was crying sadly, because it had lost its companion. With the painful old wound and lingering fright at heart, when it heard the sound from my bow string, it was scared to be shot again, so it tried its best to fly up high, and its old wound broke out again. He was in such pain that he could not fly anymore, so he fell from the sky "


Comment:
This story is from "Strategies of the Warring States" (战国策, Zhan Guo Ce). The story was told by a royal councilor who disagreed with the king's appoinment of a new general in the war. Because the new general had been defeated by the same enemy for several times. He was just like the wounded goose which stood no chance of winning. The idiom is now used to describe the case in which someone who has been previously frightened became scared by a new thing of the same nature. There is a Chinese proverb very similar with it, that is, "He that has been bitten by a snake, is afraid of a rope. (一朝被蛇咬,十年怕井绳)", and it has quiet a few English counterparts such as "A burnt child dreads the fire" and "The scalded cat fears cold water".

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