Wednesday, December 21, 2011

对牛弹琴 Play the zither to a Cow

中国古代有位著名的姓宫的音乐家。 宫先生不但会作曲, 琴也弹得非常好。 人们被他的音乐感动, 所以很尊敬他。 但是, 宫先生有时候也做些傻事。

比如有一天, 他带着琴来到野外, 只见风轻轻地吹, 草地绿油油的, 一只牛站在那里, 低着头在吃草。 宫先生面对这样有诗意的画面,兴致大发. 他 把琴拿出来, 就开始为那只牛弹起琴来。 但是, 那只牛一点也没有注意他的琴声, 继续吃草。

宫先生心里想,“ 也许这首曲子太慢了,牛不喜欢,  我应该弹一首节奏快的。”  但是, 那只牛还是没有反应, 慢慢地啃着草。

于是, 宫先生又换了一首他弹得最拿手的曲子, 可是, 那只牛仍然只是甩甩尾巴, 继续安安静静地啃着草

最后, 那只牛吃完了草,就转身离开了。宫先生很失望, 只好叹了口气, 背着琴回家了。

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In ancient China there was a famous musician whose family name was Gong. Mr. Gong could not only compose good music, but could also play the zither extremely well. People were touched by his music, and hence admired him greatly. However, Mr. Gong would do some foolish things sometimes.

For example, one day, he took his instrument to the countryside, only to find that the wind was blowing softly, the meadow lustered with green. A cow was standing there, head lowered, munching grass. Faced with such poetic scene, Mr. Gong was stricken with the mood. He took out his zither, and began to pluck away in a performance for the cow. But the cow didn't pay any attention to his music, and continued to eat grass.

Mr. Gong thought to himself: "Maybe this tune is too slow. The cow didn't like it. I should play a piece of faster rhythm. " However, that cow still showed no reaction and leisurely munching away.

At this, Mr. Gong switched again to play his best tune. But the cow still only swished his tail, and continued silently eating grass.

In the end, the cow finished eating, turned around and left. Mr. Gong was very disappointed. He sighed. Picking up his instrument, he had to go home.

The idiom "play the zither to a cow" is used for the situation when one wastes time trying to reason with an unreasonalble person, or when one speaks without consideration of his audience.

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