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Stepping Stones Lesson Six


Audio Immersion  |  Audio Practice  |  Vocabulary Study  |  Vocabulary Review
Reading Practice  |  Exercises  |  Stepping Stones Home


Guarding the stump, awaiting the Rabbit

Study the vocabulary for one line of the story along with the English translation of that line. You may want to go back to the previous step so you can listen to the line and practice reading it aloud. When you can read the line comfortably and with full comprehension, go on to the next line.

守株待兔
Guarding the stump, awaiting the rabbit
从前有个农夫
In the past, there was a farmer
看见一只兔子
who saw a rabbit
撞死 在田边的一棵树下,
crash into a tree and die at the edge of his fields.
因此他以为
Because of this, he thought
可以不花一点力气
he didn’t need to expend any effort
便可获得食物。
and could still obtain food.
从此他就不再种地了,
Henceforth, he never again planted his lands,
每天都守在这棵树下,
and every day stood guard beneath this tree,
期望能再捡到撞死的兔子。
expecting he would obtain another rabbit that crashed there.
日子一天天过去了,
Time passed day by day,
再也没有兔子
and there was never again a rabbit
撞死在这棵树下,
that crashed and died beneath the tree,
撞农夫的地
and the farmer’s lands
也一点收成
the smallest harvest
都没有了。
didn’t have at all.

 

New Vocabulary

Click on any character to see how it is written. Click on any character's pinyin to hear how it is pronounced.

While learning to write the characters is not essential to learning to read them, it helps a lot and is highly recommended. Practice writing each yourself 5-10 times, being careful to follow the stroke order shown in the animation.

(idiom) guard the stump, await the rabbit
(adv.) in the past
(n.) farmer
(v.) crash; collide
(v.) to die
(measure word for trees, plants, etc.)
(n. + locative) beneath a tree
(adv.) because of this
(v.) to think (often erroneously)
(v.) can; may
(v.) to spend; (n.) flower
(n.) strength; energy; effort
(v.) to obtain
(adv.) from this; henceforth
(adv.) not again; never again
(v. + object) to cultivate land
(v.) to expect; to anticipate
(v.) able
(v.) to pick up; grab
(v.) to pass
(adv.) also; too
negative form of 有; have not; donít have
(n.) harvest


Existing Vocabulary


Vocabulary Notes

守株待兔 is an example of a Classical Chinese idiom, called a 成语(chéngyǔ). 成语 are commonly used in everyday life situations to explain complex situations with remarkable brevity. Although 守株待兔 literally means “guard the stump, wait for the rabbit,” it has a much deeper meaning. This idiom refers to a situation where a person is waiting for luck to come to them. In our story, the farmer got lucky once, but then his downfall was relying on such luck for the future, rather than striving himself for a better tomorrow.

In Modern Chinese, 这 and 那 are used for “this” and “that”, respectively. Both of these words are typically followed by a measure word, although the noun can frequently be omitted. However, in Classical Chinese, there is no explicit word difference between “this” versus “that.” 此 could therefore function as either “this” or “that.” In Modern Chinese 此 is quite formal, so it usually only appears within set phrases or words, such as 因此.

有 means “to have”; “to exist.” In Modern Chinese, the negative form is always 沒有. However, 无 is used in Classical Chinese.

子 is a common noun suffix in Modern Chinese. Therefore it is only 兔 that refers to “rabbit.”

以为 usually means “to think (erroneously).” It literally means “to take… as.”

为 is a character with multiple means and two pronunciations. Wéi can be “to be”or “to do; to make,”whereas wèi is a preposition meaning “for.”

花, when used as a noun, simply means “flower.” However, when used as a verb, it means “to spend” (time, money, effort, etc.).



Once you've studied the vocabulary and can read each line of the story with comprehension, you are ready to go on to the next step.