Chinese Idiom:五十步笑百步(中英)

五十步笑百步The pot calling the kettle black


一天梁惠王见到孟子,说: “你看看邻国的政治多么糟糕! 他们治国不为老百姓着想!”

One day, King Hui of Liang met Mencius and said: "What a mess the political state of our neighboring countries is in! When they govern their states, they never think of the people.” 


“But when there is a flood in Henei, I move the victims of the calamity to Hedong. When there is a calamity in Hedong, I move the people there to Henei. I also allocate them food for calamity relief. I have really done my best to govern my country." 


As Mencius heard this, he nodded in agreement. 

梁惠王接着说: “可是,我的百姓人数却没有增加,而邻国的百姓人数也不见得减少呀! 你说,这究竟是什么原因?”

King Hui of Liang went on to say: "Yet my population has not increased and our neighboring countries' population has not decreased. Tell me, what exactly is the reason?" 

孟子想了想回答说: “大王喜欢打仗。请允许我用打仗来打个比方吧! 战场上,杀声震天。两军对峙,相持不下,但是一定会有胜负。被打败的士兵丢盔弃甲,抱头逃命。其中,有的人逃了五十步就停下来。有的人逃了一百步也停了下来。这时候,逃了五十步的人,嘲笑逃了一百步的人胆小怕死。大王,您说这种嘲笑对不对?”

Mencius thought this over and replied: "Your Majesty likes wars. Please allow me to use war as an analogy.On the battlefield, the sound of fighting shakes the heavens. The two armies are locked in a stalemate, but there is surely to be either victory or defeat. The defeated soldiers, throwing away their helmets and armor, flee for their lives. Some of them flee 50 steps and then stop, while others flee 100 steps and stop. Then, those who flee 50 steps laugh at those who flee 100 steps for their cowardice. Your Majesty, do you think it is right to laugh?" 

惠王听了,拍着桌子,说: “当然不对,不管逃五十步,还是逃一百步,一样是逃兵啊!”

Upon hearing this, King Hui struck the table and said: "Of course not. No matter whether they flee 50 steps or 100 steps, they are deserters just the same." 

孟子笑着说道: “大王,既然您明白这个道理,那么您也就不要希望您的百姓会比邻国多了。 

Mencius smiled and said: "Your Majesty, since you understand this truth, you can’t expect your population to be larger than that of your neighboring countries."