“Never give up” takes on an interestingly new perspective with the popular Chinese fable “愚公移山 (yúgōngyíshān) Yu Gong Yi Shan”. The story presents a magnifying look into the Chinese culture, a motivational pep talk, as well as an interesting lesson on how to use “聪明 (cōngmíng) clever” and “愚蠢 (yúchǔn) foolish” in Chinese.
The story is centered around a man called Yu Gong or literally “Mr. Fool”. Mr. Fool takes it upon himself to literally move a couple of mountains that sit outside his home, as he finds that they are a nuisance to his comfort. He attempts to dig up the mountain and insists on persistently going at it, no matter what. Later on, the heavenly God learned about Yu Gong’s story, was highly impressed, and helped him. Yu Gong finally, after much persistence, succeeded.
Take notes of the following vocabulary words in the fable:
聪明 (Cōngmíng) intelligent; bright; clever
愚蠢 (Yúchǔn) stupid; foolish; silly
The story is a familiar, yet interesting takes on “never giving up”. The exact script of the story is as follows:
Cóngqián, yǒu yì míng lǎorén, míng jiào Yú Gōng, kuài jiǔ shí suì le.
Once upon a time, there was an old man named Yu Gong (Mr. Fool), who was about ninety years old.
Tā jiā de ménkǒu yǒu liǎng zuò dà shān, yí zuò jiào Tàihángshān, yí zuò jiào Wángwūshān.
There were two mountains just outside his house, one was Taihang Mountain, and the other was Wangwu Mountain,
Yīnwèi zhè liǎng zuò dà shān, tā měicì chūmén dōu fēicháng bù fāngbiàn.
Because of the two mountains, it was very troublesome each time he’d step outside.
Suóyǐ tā juédìng yí zǒu zhè liǎng zuò dà shān.
So he decided to literally remove both mountains.
Dì èr tiān, Yú Gōng dài zhe yìjiārén kāishǐ bān shān le.
The very next day,… Yu Gong and his family began to move the mountains.
Tāmen měitiān dōu yào bǎ shān shàng de shítou hé nítǔ, yìdiǎn yìdiǎn de yùnsòng dào háilǐ qù.
Everyday they dug up mountains’ the rocks and dirt, and carried them to the sea, little by little.
Dāngshí, yǒu yí gè cōngmíng de lǎotóu jiào Zhì Sǒu, tā tīngshuō le Yú Gōng de gùshi, juédé shífēn kěxiào.
During that time, there was a smart old man called Zhi Sou (Mr. Wise), who heard Yu Gong’s story, and thought it was quite ludicrous.
Zhì Sǒu cháoxiào tā tài yúchǔn, tā rènwéi zhè shì bù kěnéng de shìqíng.
Zhi Sou mocked Yu Gong, laughed at his stupidity, and thought it was impossible.
Yú Gōng fǎnbó shuō: “wǒ sǐ le, dànshì wǒ háiyǒu érzi, wǒ de érzi sǐ le, háiyǒu sūnzi, wǒ de yìyuàn huì yìzhí chuándì xiàqù. Zǒng yǒu yì tiān, wǒmen néng bān zǒu zhè zuò dà shān.”
Yu Gong responded, “even if I am dead, I’ll still have a son; and even if my son is dead, I’ll still have a grandson, therefore my wish and plan will be carried on forever. One day we’ll be able to remove the mountains. ”
Hòulái, tāmen de xíngwéi zhōngyú gǎndòng le tiāndì.
Later, their persistence finally was acknowledged by the Heavenly God.
Tiāndì pài liǎng míng shénxiān bǎ zhè liǎng zuò dà shān bān zǒu le.
The Heavenly God sent two immortals, who removed the two mountains.
Reflecting on this story can teach you a great deal about Chinese culture, and you can actually use it to motivate yourself! “聪明 (Cōngmíng) clever” is one of the words used in the fable, along with “愚蠢 (yúchǔn)”, which means stupidity. Zhi Sou (Mr. Wise) was considered clever, while Yu Gong (Mr. Fool) was considered foolish.
To this very day, the story of Yu Gong has been handed down for generations. It’s a tale and lesson that goes to show that no matter how difficult things are, and regardless of the obstacles, you can achieve anything, as long as you’re persistent, have extreme perseverance, and belief. Regardless of whether you think you’re clever or not so smart, persistence and faith is definitely the key!
1. Please choose the option which is different from the words in the parenthesis.
Tā shì yígè juédǐng (cōngmíng) de rén.
B. 聪敏 (Cōngmǐn)
C. 聪慧 (Cōnghuì)
D. 聪颖 (Cōngyǐng)