Thursday, January 12, 2012

虚有其表 Impressive but worthless outside skin

从前在杭州,有个卖水果的小贩,他做这个生意已经做了很多年了。他有个特别的本事,就是很善于保管桔子,不管是夏天还是冬天, 他的桔子看上去都很新鲜,像刚从树上摘下来一样。所以虽然他的桔子比别人贵许多, 但是还是有很多人买。


一天, 一个人从他那里买了很多桔子, 花了不少钱。 但

是,回家剥掉桔子皮一看,里面的桔子肉都干掉了,就像一团旧棉絮。所有的桔子都剥开了,全都是这样,根本不能吃。那个人很生气, 就回去找到那个卖水果的,对他说: “你的桔子外面看起来很新鲜漂亮, 但是里面的肉都干枯了,像旧棉絮一样。你这样做生意,和抢劫有什么不一样!”
卖水果的回答: “你说这话什么意思?  又不是只有我一个人这样欺骗顾客的。你看, 那些有钱有势的大官,骑马坐轿, 吃的是山珍海味, 穿的是绫罗绸缎,一个个看起来都那么体面,文雅,可是,哪一个有能力治理国家?他们就像我的桔子, 里外相差很大。 你为什么不说他们只说我呢?”
那个人听了他的话, 不知道再说什么了。

 
从前(cóngqián)(zài)杭州(hángzhōu)(yǒu)()(mài)(shuǐ)(guǒ)(de)(xiǎo)(fàn)()(zuò)这个(zhège)生意(shēngyì)已经(yǐjīng)(zuò)(le)很多年(hěnduōnián)(le)()(yǒu)()特别(tèbié)(de)本事(běnshì)就是(jiùshì)(hěn)善于(shànyú)保管(bǎoguǎn)桔子(júzi)不管(bùguǎn)(shì)夏天(xiàtiān)还是(háishì)冬天(dōngtiān) ()(de)桔子(júzi)看上去(kànshàngqù)(dōu)(hěn)新鲜(xīnxiān)(xiàng)(gāng)(cóng)(shù)(shàng)摘下(zhāixià)(lái)一样(yíyàng)所以(suǒyǐ)虽然(suīrán)()(de)桔子(júzi)()别人(biérén)(guì)许多(xǔduō) 但是(dànshì)还是(háishì)(yǒu)很多人(hěnduōrén)(mǎi) 

一天(yìtiān) 一个人(yígèrén)(cóng)()那里(nàli)(mǎi)(le)很多(hěnduō)桔子(júzi) (huā)(le)不少(bùshǎo)(qián) 但是(dànshì)回家(huíjiā)(bāo)(diào)桔子(júzi)皮一(píyī)(kàn)里面(lǐmiàn)(de)桔子(júzi)(ròu)(dōu)干掉(gàndiào)(le)(jiù)(xiàng)()(tuán)(jiù)棉絮(miánxù)所有(suǒyǒu)(de)桔子(júzi)(dōu)(bāo)(kāi)(le)全都(quándōu)(shì)这样(zhèyàng)根本(gēnběn)不能(bùnéng)(chī)那个(nàge)(rén)(hěn)生气(shēngqì) (jiù)回去(huíqù)找到(zhǎodào)那个(nàge)(mài)水果(shuǐguǒ)(de)(duì)()(shuō) ()(de)桔子(júzi)外面(wàimiàn)看起来(kànqǐlái)(hěn)新鲜(xīnxiān)漂亮(piàoliang) 但是(dànshì)里面(lǐmiàn)(de)(ròu)(dōu)干枯(gānkū)(le)(xiàng)(jiù)棉絮(miánxù)一样(yíyàng)()这样(zhèyàng)做生意(zuòshēngyì)()抢劫(qiǎngjié)(yǒu)什么(shénme)不一样(bùyīyàng)!”


(mài)水果(shuǐguǒ)(de)回答(huídá) ()(shuō)(zhè)(huà)什么(shénme)意思(yìsi)  (yòu)不是(búshì)只有(zhǐyǒu)()一个人(yígèrén)这样(zhèyàng)欺骗(qīpiàn)顾客(gùkè)(de)()(kàn) 那些(nàxiē)有钱(yǒuqián)(yǒu)(shì)(de)大官(dàguān)骑马(qímǎ)(zuò)轿(jiào) (chī)(de)(shì)山珍海味(shānzhēnhǎiwèi) 穿(chuān)(de)(shì)绫罗绸缎(língluóchóuduàn)一个个(yígègè)看起来(kànqǐlái)(dōu)那么(nàme)体面(tǐmiàn)文雅(wényǎ)可是(kěshì)()()()有能力(yǒunénglì)治理(zhìlǐ)国家(guójiā)他们(tāmen)(jiù)(xiàng)()(de)桔子(júzi) 里外(lǐwài)相差(xiāngchà)很大(hěndà) ()为什么(wèishénme)()(shuō)他们(tāmen)(zhī)(shuō)()(ne)?”


()(ge)(rén)(tīng)(le)()(de)(huà) ()(zhī)(dào)(zài)(shuō)(shén)(me)(le)

Translation:
There was once a fruit peddler in Hangzhou, who had been in the business for many years. A special talent of his was that he was very good at preserving tangerines. No matter it was summer or winter, his tangerines always looked so fresh as if they were just picked from trees. Therefore, many people bought his tangerines even thought they were much more expensive that the other sellers'.

One day, a man spent a lot of money in his place and bought many tangerines. However, when he peeled off the skin of the tangerines at home, he found that the inside had all dried up, just like a coil of old cotton fiber. The same happened to all the tangerines left; none of them were edible at all. The man was very angry, and went back to find that peddler. He said, "your tangerines looks very fresh and pretty from outside, but have all dried up inside, like old cotton fiber. What's the difference between robbery and doing business like this?"
The fruit peddler replied: "What do you mean? I'm not the only one who cheats customers like this. Look, all those wealthy and powerful high officials look so dignified and graceful, riding horses and sedans, eating delicacies of all kinds, and dressed in fine silk. But which one is capable of governing the country? They are just like my tangerines with a huge discrepancy between the outside and inside. Why don't complain about them but me?"

Hearing this comment, the man didn't what to say anymore.

Comments
This story should have taken place in the 12th century when Hangzhou was the capital city of South Song Dynasty. Hundreds of years have passed by, and not much has changed to the high officials in Chinese government, or to a lot of "wealthy and powerful people" all over the world. The pungent humor and honesty of the peddlor not only makes his customer speechless, but also makes  me smile.
We use this idom now to describe someone who has a fine appearance, but has no real ability or doesn't know anything. This metaphor will fit very well somebody who graduated from a top university but very stupid.
You can also use this idiom to describe some products with a fancy appearance but really bad quality.

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