成語故事

To Carve a Mark in the Boat And Look For the Sword

刻舟求劍

During the Spring and Autumn Period, there was a man who hired a small boat to take him from the north end of the Yangtze river to the south end. As the boat got out into the middle of the river, the man was admiring the beautiful scenery. He began to sing a song and beat time with the sword he was carrying in his hand. Suddenly a strong wind came up and created a wave which rocked the boat so hard that the man's sword fell into the river. This was the man's most treasured sword. He was about to jump in after it, when he decided that he should first make a mark on the side of the boat at the place where the sword had fallen in. That way, he reasoned, he would be sure to find it. Having made the mark, he ordered the boatman to stop, took off his shoes and long coat, and jumped in the water. He looked all around, but couldn't find his sword. Utterly exasperated, he said to the boatman, "Do you see this mark on the side of the boat? This is where my sword fell into the river! So how come I can't find it?"

Today, a person who refuses to listen to logic, but stubbornly adheres to his own opinions, can be said to "carve a mark in the boat and look for the sword."

刻舟求劍

有一次,一個楚國人坐船過江。船到江心時一個不小心,他失手把心愛的寶劍掉到了水裡。好心的船夫願意幫他撈劍,可是這個楚國人不慌不忙,把掉劍的位置刻在船身上,說:「不用了,等船靠岸後再說吧!」。船靠岸以後,他才請船夫從他刻了記號的船邊下水,替他打撈寶劍。但是船一直在走,而劍掉到了水中就不會再移動。就算船夫潛水的本領再高,又怎麼可能找到根本不在船下的劍呢?


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