Episode 157: Persistent Or Stubborn?

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Being persistent is a virtue but sometimes it would cause some problems. Today we will tell two Chinese tales about it.

The first tale is from the book LvShiChunQiu 吕氏春秋, an encyclopedic Chinese classic text complied around 239 BC. The story says, there was a person from the Kingdom Chu 楚国 went across the river. On the boat, his sword accidentally dropped into the water.


He wasn’t worried or anything but just marked on the boat where the sword dropped and said, “this is where my sword dropped.” When the boat stopped, the man jumped into the water where he marked on the boat. Of course, he found nothing. In the book, the author commented, the boat sailed far away while the sword stayed. Just like if the governess don’t understand things are changing in the world but not change the laws and regulations.


The second tale is from the book Han FeiZi 韩非子, an ancient Chinese text on theories of state power from around the 3rd century BC. The story says, there was a farmer from the Kingdom Song 宋国. There was a trunk of tree in his field. One day, a rabbit hit on the trunk and broke its neck and died. Maybe the rabbit was running really fast and didn’t see the trunk.


The farmer got a rabbit without doing anything. From then on, he stopped farming but just sitting next to the trunk to wait for another free rabbit. The author commented, “if the governors still kept the old regulations and laws from previous dynasty, it is like sitting next to the trunk to wait for rabbits to come.”




吕氏春秋 LvShiChunQiu

韩非子 Han FeiZi

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