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Say It Right Series

Chinese Idioms - 朝三暮四

Posted by vann0000 February 9, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: idiom, monkey, goal, plan, chestnut

Three at Dawn and Four at Dusk (朝三暮四 zao san mu si)


2000 years ago, there was an old man who kept many monkeys in his yard. He trained them so that after a while, some of them could even understand what he said.

"Every morning and evening, the old man would give each of his monkeys four chestnuts. After a few years, the old man became poorer and poorer, but he had even more monkeys than he had before. So instead of giving each monkey eight chestnuts a day, he decided to give them only seven each. One morning, when it was time for him to give out the chestnuts, the old man said to the monkeys, "Starting today, I will give each of you three chestnuts in the morning, and in the evening, I will give you each four as usual. Would you agree to that?"

When the monkeys heard that, they all wondered, "Why do we get one chestnut less than usual in the mornings?" The monkeys all made loud noises and began to jump up and down to express their disapproval of the idea.

When the old man saw this, he immediately came up with another idea: "How about this, then? In the morning, I will give you four chestnuts, and in the evening, I will give you three chestnuts? Would that be all right?"

When the monkeys heard that they would have the same number of chestnuts in the morning as before, they happily rolled on the ground.

Now the moral of the story is: Stick to your original plans and do not be led away from them for fear of others' opinions.

2000年前,有一位老人在他家中的院子里养了许多猴子(hóu zi).时间一长,这些猴子竟然(jìng rán)能听懂老人的话了.

这个老人每天早晨(zǎo chén)给每只猴子四颗(kē)栗子(lì zi),每天傍晚(bàng wǎn)再给每只猴子四颗栗子.几年之后,老人变得越来越贫穷了,而他家里的猴子越来越多,所以他就想把每天的栗子由八颗改为七颗.一天早晨,发栗子的时间到了,老人对猴子说:"从今天开始,我每天早晨给你们三颗栗子,傍晚还和以前一样给你们四颗栗子,不知道你们同意不同意?"

猴子们听了,都认为早晨怎么少了一个?于是一个个就开始吱吱(zhī zhī)大叫,而且还到处跳来跳去,好像非常不满意.

老人一看到这个情形,连忙改口说:"那么我早晨给你们四颗,傍晚再给你们三颗,这样该可以了吧?

猴子们听了,以为早上的栗子已经由三个变成四个,跟以前一样,就高兴地在地上翻滚(fān gǔn)起来.

朝三暮四现在的意思是指反复无常,用来谴责(qiǎn zé)那种说话、办事经常变卦(biàn guà)、不负责任的人.近义词还有:朝秦暮蜀(zhāo qín mù shǔ)、三心二意等.

例句:

那公司的老板总是朝三暮四,真靠不了.

我们做事应当一心一意而不要朝三暮四.

你如果做事朝三暮四,早晚会失去别人的信任.

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