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五十步笑百步

2006-07-15 13:50

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

  “I have spent a lot of time and effort,”stated King Hui of the state of Liang,“on governing my country.When there is a bad harvest in Henei,north of the Yellow River,I evacuate the people there to Hedong,east of the Yellow River and move the grain of Hedong to Henei.When the harvest is bad in Hedong I would do the same for them. As far as I would see,none of the rulers of the neighbouring states are as diligent as I.But the number of people in neighbouringstates does not decrease and the number of my subjects does not increase.Why is this so?

  “My lord likes fighting battles,”replied Mencius,“so I will use an analogy from war:Imagine battle drums thundering and weapons clashing.At this time some soldiers abandon their armour and runaway,dragging their weapons behind them.Some stop after going one hundred paces.Others halt after fifty paces.Those who ran only fifty paces laughed at those who ran a hundred.What do you think?”

  “That's not right.It's just that they didn't go a hundred paces,but they did run away all the same.”

  “My lord,if you understand this,then you should not cherish hopes of having more subjects than your neighbours.”


  梁惠王说:“我对于国家,真够尽心尽力的了!河内发生灾荒,我就把那里的灾民迁移到河东,同时把河东的粮食运去河内;如果河东发生了灾荒,我也同样处理。我曾经考察过邻国的政治,还没有人像我那样为百姓考虑如此周到。可是邻国的百姓不见减少,我的百姓不见增加,这是什么缘故呢?”

  孟子答道:“大王喜欢战争,请允许我用战争来做比喻:战鼓咚咚地敲响了,双方的士兵一交锋,就丢弃盔甲,拖着兵器掉头逃跑。有的跑了一百步才停下来,有的跑了五十步然后停住脚,如果跑五十步的人凭逃跑的距离来嘲笑跑一百步的人,那您认为行不行?”

  梁惠王说:“不行,只不过不到一百步罢了,逃跑五十步同样也是逃跑呀。”

  孟子说:“大王如果明白这个道理,那就不要期望你的百姓比邻国多了。”

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