Episode 3: 守株待兔 To Sit By The Tree, And Wait For The Rabbit

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Jumping right into the story here. Today's lesson is a call for action- to stop being lazy and do something with our lives. I've translated it to: Sitting by the tree, waiting for the rabbit...

In Chinese, this idiom is known as 守株待兔. A bunny bashes its head into a tree and sets off a sequence of unfortunate events. Ultimately, this idiom is telling us to work hard and not rely on anyone else! Man, we can't rely on bunnies for anything! 

The literal translation for this proverb would be: sitting by the tree waiting for the rabbit. But since that makes no grammatical sense, I figured the translation is simply sit back and wait.

The ancient Chinese passed down this proverb to warn us the downsides of sitting back and waiting. Long long ago, during the Spring and Autumn period (770BC-476BC) there was a farmer from the Song country. One day, he was plowing his field under the harsh sun...sweat dripping down his back and all that jazz. 

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a wild rabbit appeared and frantically ran into a tree. It bashed its head into the tree trunks, and immediately passed away. (And went to heaven I hope).

The farmer saw this and was thrilled. He grabbed the lifeless rabbit and took it home to make rabbit stew. He thought to himself: working on the fields is such hard work, if only I could pick up a rabbit like this every day. Life would be just dandy!

Ever since then, he put a stop to his farming and decided to guard the trees- waiting for rabbits to bash their heads again. Days go by and there's not even a tiny hint of rabbits nearby.

Now of course, this proverb is strictly metaphorical. But the character in this story was literally sitting around on his butt, waiting for a suicidal rabbit to come his way. His methods were ludicrous, wouldn't you say?

Moral of the idiom: Don't be delusional because of one lucky incident. Don't sit back and wait around for luck, get up and take action!

ORIGINAL IDIOM: 守株待兔

春秋时,宋国有个农夫。有一天,他在田地劳作,汗流浃背,特别辛苦,忽然,一只野兔奔了过来。它惊恐万分,瞎炮乱窜,一头撞在树桩上,倒在那儿不动了。农夫非常高兴,上前抓住兔子,回家美美吃了一顿兔子肉。农夫想:种地多辛苦,每天捡几只野兔,够吃够喝了。

从此,他不再干活儿,成天守在树桩那儿,等着捡兔子。日子一天天过去,他再也没见到过野兔子的影子,田地却荒芜了。

比喻死守经验,不知变通,讽刺妄想不劳而获的侥幸心理。