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Stepping Stones Lesson Six

Audio Immersion  |  Audio Practice  |  Vocabulary Study  |  Vocabulary Review
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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.

Guarding the stump, awaiting the rabbit
In the past, there was a farmer
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.
Because of this, he thought
he didn’t need to expend any effort
and could still obtain food.
Henceforth, he never again planted his lands,
and every day stood guard beneath this tree,
expecting he would obtain another rabbit that crashed there.
Time passed day by day,
and there was never again a rabbit
that crashed and died beneath the tree,
and the farmer’s lands
the smallest harvest
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.