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中国成语典故中英对照:不合时宜

2006-06-29 11:27

  Ignorance of the objective world

  In the State of Lu, there was a couple of husband and wife, the former being an expert shoemaker and the latter a skilled hand in wearing taffeta. One day after consultations they decided to go to the state of Yue to earn a livelihood. The neighbors advised them not to go when they learned about their plan. "Don't go there," said one neighbor, "If you go, you can never earn a livelihood."

  "We cannot understand you," interrogated the couple, "We have a find command of our art, how could we not earn our living with our work? Don't make a fool of us, please."

  "Indeed, you have your skill," explained the man, "But have you taken notice of the fact that shoes are made for people and the silk taffeta are for hat-making? The people of Yue don't wear shoes, for they are barefooted. Again, they like to have their hair spread out over their heads and they never use hats. To whom should you sell your shoes and hats then?" Experienced though you are in the arts, yet the arts you have mastered are useless there."

  After this explanation, the husband and wife now understood that anything that was not adaptable to the objective world would be useless and unpractical.

  不合时宜

  鲁国有对夫妻,男的是鞋匠,鞋子做的很好;女的是织绢能手。有一天,他们商量想到越国去谋生。消息传到四邻后,有人对他们说:"不要到那儿去!否则你们一定无法生存的!"那对夫妇说:"我们不明白你的意思, 我们都有一套手艺,怎么 会生活不了呢?别胡说了!" 那人说:"对呀,你们虽然都有一套手艺,可是你们要知道,鞋子是给人穿的,但越国人都赤脚不穿鞋子,你们织的丝绢原是做帽子用的,但越国人喜欢披着头发,不戴帽子,你们的本领虽大,手艺虽高,但你们做的鞋子、帽子去卖给谁呢?那对夫妇这才明白,凡事如果不合时宜,不适合客观环境就不中用了。

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