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Yan Er Dao Ling

 

掩耳盗铃 (yǎn ěr dào líng)

Yan Er Dao Ling

 

In the Spring and Autumn period (chūn qiū 春秋时期,770-476 BC), a thief had stolen a bell and intended to carry it away on his back, but the bell was too bulky and heavy to be carried, so he tried to break it into pieces with a hammer to make it easier for carrying. On his first hit, however, the bell made a loud noise. He thus feared that the ringing sound might be heard by someone, who would come to rob him of his bell. His fright made him plug his own ears, while hitting the bell with the hammer. The bell sound was, nevertheless, audible to others and therefore to stuff his ears for the purpose of stealing a bell was a stupid action. It is as foolish as burying one’s head in the sand.

 

在春秋战国时期,有一个小偷偷了一只钟。他准备把钟扛在背上带走。可是钟又大又沉,很难扛走。因此他想用锤子把钟敲成碎片,这样运起来就能多了。可是,他敲了一下,那只钟发出巨大的响声。他怕别人听到了钟声会来抢他的钟,于是他在锤子敲钟时捂上了自己的耳朵。不过,即使他这样做,别人还是听得到钟声的。所以掩耳盗铃是非常愚蠢的行为,就像把头埋在沙子中一样(淮南子著)。