Episode 10: 对牛弹琴 Playing Music To A Cow


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对牛弹琴

古代时,有一位音乐家名叫公明仪,他才华出众,弹得一手好琴。他的琴声能把人带入如痴如醉的境地。

一天,公明仪来到郊外,他随身带着古琴。他来到一片草地,心想:大自然真美啊!

他兴致大发,忍不住要弹奏一曲,可是没有人欣赏。他看到不远处有头牛正在静静地吃草,四周一片翠绿,好一副和谐的春日图景。公明仪收环境的感染,心想:我就弹给牛听吧!

于是,他就在牛旁边坐下,认认真真弹了起来。他首先弹了一首高深的曲子,曲调婉转优美,极为动人,可那头牛却还在自顾自低头吃草,对美妙的琴声无动于衷。

公明仪觉得自己的琴声受到冷落,又生气又伤心。转念一想,也许牛听不懂那么高深的音乐于是又选了一首音律简单的曲子弹奏起来。那头牛有所触动,抬起头来看这边。公明仪非常高兴,以为自己的努力没有白费。牛晃晃尾巴,悠闲自在地走开了,完全不管公明仪的曲子。

过路人劝他说:不是你弹得不好,是牛听不懂啊!

公明仪感慨的说:不是牛愚蠢,是我自己蠢,弹琴得看对象。

这个成语比喻对愚蠢的人讲深奥的道理,对外行人讲内行的话;也用来讥笑讲道理不看对象的人,贬低那些听不懂别人高深道理的人。

Playing Music To A Cow

In ancient times, there was a talented musician by the name of Gong Ming Yi. He adored music so much he would carry his Zheng (a classical Chinese string instrument) everywhere he went.

Classical Gu Zheng 

One day, when Gong Ming Yi was on a walk, he came across a beautiful green pasture. He noticed a cow grazing in the middle of the pasture and sat down to play his instrument. Gong Ming Yi wanted to serenade the cow in this picturesque field, so he strummed the most complicated song he knew. The cow showed no reaction whatsoever. 

Gong Ming Yi figured the composition was probably too deep for the cow to understand, so he played another piece. This time, the cow glanced up at him, wagged his tail but then continued to graze mindlessly.

The musician then realized the cow would never understand his music. He was saddened by the cow's indifference to his talent...thinking his skills were not up to par. People would tell Gong Ming Yi that it was not that his skills were unimpressive, it's that the cow will never understand musicality. They insisted that the cow is simply dumb. 

Gong Ming Yi replied, "It's not that the cow that is dumb, it is me who is dumb. I did not realize to whom I was playing music."

Moral of The Idiom: Not everyone will speak the same language as you, so do not expect them to understand. Don't expect everyone to see eye-to-eye with you. Know the people you are communicating with, it might not necessarily be their fault for not level-ing with you.