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掩耳盗铃 (Yăn’ĕr dàolíng) To cover one’s ears when he steals the bell

Mar. 16, 2015

(Get familiar with Chinese culture and you will get a deeper understanding of idioms.)

Yŏu gè xiăotōu kànjiàn fànshì  jiālĭ  yŏu yì kŏu míngguì de dàzhōng, tā xiăng bă zhōng qiāo suì , ránhòu
有    个  小偷      看见    范氏  家里  有 一 口     名贵     的    大钟, 他   想    把    钟     敲   碎, 然后
zài fēnbié bān huí jiā.
再  分别    搬   回 家。
A thief wanted to steal the Fan family’s very valuable and large bell, so he decided to smash it so that he could carry it home.

Kĕ qiāo zhōng de jùxiăng bă tā xià  le yí dà tiào,   tā bùyóuzìzhŭ dì wŭzhù  zìjĭ  de ĕrduo.
可   敲     钟     的   巨响  把 他  吓 了 一 大  跳,他   不由自主  地  捂住  自己 的  耳朵。
But when he hit it, the loud clang surprised him and he covered his ears, thereby muffling the sound.

Tā gāoxìng de fāxiàn zhōng shēng biàn xiăo le,  yúshì tā  lìkè zhăo lái liăng gè bùtuán, bă ĕrduo sāizhù,
他    高兴   的  发现     钟        声    变    小 了,于是 他 立刻  找  来   两   个   布团,把  耳朵    塞住,
fàngshŏu zá qĭ zhōng lái, rénmen tīng dào zhōng shēng fēngyōng’érzhì bă xiăotōu zhuō zhù le.
放手        砸 起   钟    来,人们     听    到     钟      声        蜂拥而至       把   小偷     捉   住  了。
He decided to use cloth to plug his ears, foolishly thinking it quieted the bell so that he could hit it repeatedly. Neighbors soon heard the sound and caught the thief in the act.
(Consider him stupid? Say you are really something to him.)

Thus, the moral of the story is that the sound of the bell exists objectively; it won’t be silenced even if you cover your own ears. This story vividly explains the basic principle of dialectical materialism: all things exist objectively—a fact that should not be ignored, or else you will deceive yourself and suffer the consequences.

More Chinese idioms

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