Toll Free - U.S.& Canada:  1-800-791-9386   Hong Kong:  800-930-623   Australia:  1-800-779-835
Free online Chinese learning support
  • Follow us on Facebook!
  • Watch Our YouTube Videos!
  • Follow us on Twitter!
  • Follow us on WeChat!
    Follow Us in WeChat by Scanning!
    Follow Us in "WeChat"
    by Scanning
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Explore Our Instagram Videos & Photos!
United Kingdom:  0-800-086-8969   Germany:  0-800-180-0341   Singapore:  800-130-1652
France:  0-805-080-689   Spain:  900-838-906    

Learn Wisdom from This Chinese Story of Children’s Debate

Dec. 16, 2018

HSK 3 quiz

Many Chinese idioms and proverbs have wonderful stories about how they originated. This fable is a classic story from ancient China. It is said to be written by Lie Zi during the Warring States period and holds a great moral that is essential for all people seeking wisdom and knowledge.

两小儿辩日 (Liǎng xiǎo ér biàn rì) Two Children’s Debate

Yìtiān, kǒngzǐ jiàndào liǎng gè xiǎohái zhèngzài biànlùn.
一天,孔子见到两个小孩正在辩论。
One day, Confucius met two children who were arguing.

Tā hěn hàoqí, yúshì jiù wèn tāmen zhēngbiàn de yuányīn.
他很好奇,于是就问他们争辩的原因。
He was curious and asked them why they were arguing.

Yígè xiǎo háizi shuō: “Wǒ rènwéi tàiyáng gānggang shēngqǐ de shíhòu jùlí wǒmen zuì jìn, dào le zhōngwǔ de shíhòu, jùlí wǒmen zuì yuǎn.”
一个小孩子说:“我认为太阳刚刚升起的时候距离我们最近,到了中午的时候,距离我们最远。”
One child said: “I think the sun is closest to us when it is just rising, and furthest away from us by noon.”

Ér lìng yígè xiǎo háizi liánmáng shuō: “Búduì búduì, tàiyáng gānggang shēngqǐ de shíhòu jùlí wǒmen zuì yuǎn, dào le zhōngwǔ de shíhòu bǐjiào jìn.”
而另一个小孩子连忙说:“不对不对,太阳刚刚升起的时候距离我们最远,到了中午的时候比较近。”
And the other child hurriedly said: “It’s wrong, the sun is the furthest away from us when it is just rising, and by noon it is closer.”

Dìyī gè xiǎo háizi shuō: “Tàiyáng gāng shēngqǐ shí, dà de jiù xiàng yì bǎ dǎkāi de dà sǎn, dào le zhōngwǔ, tàiyáng bùguò xiàng pánzi yìbān dàxiǎo.”
第一个小孩说:“太阳刚升起时,大得就像一把打开的大伞, 到了中午,太阳不过像盘子一般大小.”
The first child said: “when the sun first rises, it is as big as an open umbrella. At noon, the sun is only the size of a plate.”

“Zhè nándào búshì yīnwèi zǎoshàng tàiyáng lí wǒmen jìn xiǎnde dà, zhōngwǔ lí wǒmen yuǎn xiǎnde xiǎo ma?”
“这难道不是因为早上太阳离我们近显得大,中午离我们远显得小吗?”
“Isn’t it because the sun is near us in the morning hence it looks big and is far away from us at noon hence appearing small?”

Lìng yígè xiǎo háizi shuō: “Zǎoshàng tàiyáng chūlái de shíhòu liángkuài, dào le zhōngwǔ de shíhòu rè de rútóng shuǐ zhǔ fèi yíyàng.“
另一个小孩子说:“早上太阳出来的时候凉快,到了中午的时候热得如同水煮沸一样.“
The other child said: “It is cool when the sun comes out in the morning, and it is as hot as boiling water at noon.”

“Zhè nándào búshì yīnwèi zǎochén tàiyáng lí wǒmen yuǎn jiù gǎnjué liángsōusou de, zhōngwǔ lí wǒmen jìn jiù gǎnjué hěn rè de yuángù ma?”
“这难道不是因为早晨太阳离我们远就感觉凉飕飕的,中午离我们近就感觉很热的缘故吗?”
“Could that be because in the early morning the sun is further from us so it feels much chillier, and in the afternoon the sun is closer so it feels warmer?”

Zhègè kàn sì jiǎndān de wèntí què bǎ néngyánshànbiàn de kǒng lǎo xiānshēng yě nán zhù le,
这个看似简单的问题却把能言善辩的孔老先生也难住了,
This seemingly simple question was difficult for the eloquent Confucius,

Yīnwèi dānshí zìrán kēxué hái bù fādá, kǒngzǐ tīng le zhīhòu yě bùnéng pànduàn tāmen liǎ shéi duì shéi cuò.
因为当时自然科学还不发达,孔子听了之后也不能判断他们俩谁对谁错。
Because at that time the natural sciences were still undeveloped, and Confucius wasn’t able to judge who was right and who was wrong when he heard this.

Liǎng gè xiǎo háizi xiào zhe duì kǒngzǐ shuō: “Nǐ búshì hěn bóxué ma? Yuánlái nǐ yě yǒu bù dǒng de dìfāng a!”
两个小孩子笑着对孔子说:“你不是很博学吗?原来你也有不懂的地方啊!”
The two children smiled and said to him: “Aren’t you very knowledgeable? It turns out, there’s something you also don’t understand!”

Common Pairs Antonym

大/小 (Dà / xiǎo): big / small

远/近 (Yuǎn / jìn):  far / near

冷/热 (Lěng / rè):  cold / hot

对/错 (Duì / cuò): right / wrong

Examples 1:
Jīdàn hé yādàn dàxiǎo chàbuduō.
鸡蛋和鸭蛋大小差不多。
Eggs are about the same size as duck eggs.

(Take a Quiz to Learn a Chinese Character for “差不多 (Chàbuduō) Almost.”)

Examples 2:
Tā shì yuǎnjìn wénmíng de císhàn jiā.
他是远近闻名的慈善家。
His reputation as a philanthropist spread near and far.

(How to Tell the Difference Between 3 “Famous” Chinese Words?)

Examples 3:
Lěng rè kōngqì xiāngyù huì xíngchéng jiàngyǔ.
冷热空气相遇会形成降雨。
Cold and hot air meet to form rain.

Examples 4:
Búlùn duì cuò, wǒ zǒngshì huì zhīchí tā de.
不论对错,我总是会支持她的。
Whether right or wrong, I will always support her.

What It Tells Us?
“两小儿辩日 (Liǎng xiǎo ér biàn rì) Two children arguing about the sun” shows the ancient spirit of independent thinking, daring to question, and seeking truth from facts. At the same time, it tells us there’s no end to learning so we have to continue seeking knowledge. Through reading this, we find that the two children have the quality of observation and are brave to explore the world around them. While Confucius is practical, modest, and prudent he is able to present us with the moral that we should seek truth from facts and not pretend to understand what we learn.

After reading this article, which child’s perspective is right about the sun? Why? Or, perhaps, do you have a different view? We welcome you to leave a message for us. We’d love to hear what you think.

HSK 3 quiz

1. After reading the article do you know what the two kids are arguing about?

    Tāmen zài tǎolùn tàiyáng de dàxiǎo wèntí.
A. 他们在讨论太阳的大小问题。

    Tāmen zài tǎolùn tàiyáng jùlí yuǎnjìn de wèntí.
B. 他们在讨论太阳距离远近的问题。

    Tāmen zài tǎolùn zǎoshàng hé zhōngwǔ de lěng
    rè wèntí.

C. 他们在讨论早上和中午的冷热问题。

2. Which of the following pairs are not the opposite meaning?

A. 大和小 (Dà hé xiǎo)

B. 好和坏 (Hǎo hé huài)

C. 长和宽 (Cháng hé kuān)

D. 高和矮 (Gāo hé ǎi)

See Answer Analysis

— Written by Julia Liu —
Julia Liu teaches Chinese with eChineseLearning. She has been successfully teaching for 5 years and loves reading and practices her passion for drawing in her free time.

Reading More Interesting Chinese Stories for Kids:
Chinese Story for Kids: 盲人摸象 (Mángrénmōxiàng) Blind Men And an Elephant (Beginner)
Kids Chinese Learning: 井底之蛙 (Jǐngdǐzhīwā) The Frog in the Well
Chinese Story for Kids-“What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?”

Got questions? Take a free 1-to-1 lesson with one of our professional teachers by signing up below:
Name: 
E-mail: 
Country/Region: 
-select-

search no result

Tel: 
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Your email address and phone number
will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.
Submit

Write a comment

Your Name: 
Your Email:  Your email address will not be published.
Comments: 
Verification Code:  Verification Code Unclear? Try another one
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Email This Article
Recipients' email addresses:
(separate recipients with comma)
Your name:
Your e-mail address (optional):
Your message (optional):
Verification Code:
By clicking Send, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


FREE Mandarin E-book
Sign up for a free trial now!
Get more information about our Chinese lessons through live chat
Get a FREE live 1-to-1 lesson and FREE e-books. Complete the form below:
Name:
E-mail:
Country/Region:
-select-

search no result

Tel:
By clicking Submit, you agree to our
Terms of Service
and Privacy Policy.
Your email address and phone number
will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.