You probably would have also heard that China is one of the world's four ancient civilizations. Well if you didn't know then now you do! The point is it would take more than hundreds of pages to even begin to summarize China's entire vast history - so I won't even attempt to do that in the length of one post 🙂
Today's story is set during the Warring States Period - 战国时期 (zhàn guó shí qī). Our protagonist in this story, Yue Yangzi, is from 魏国 (wèi guó), which is one of the eight warring states that duked it out during the Warring States Period.
I would assign this post as Advanced difficulty as Yue's wife is rather chatty in this tale, and uses many big words and chengyu to admonish her husband. You may need to refer to the dictionary a couple of times. As usual, I break down the key vocabulary below.
If you have any thoughts about the story or are interested in Chinese history, leave a message below.
Hope you enjoy it!
妻子(qī zi) - wife, this is the traditional way of saying wife. Nowadays people normally call wife 老婆(lǎo pó) or 太太(tài tai)
贤惠(xián huì) - Virtuous, which is normally used to describe a wife who understands her husband and can help her husband with many things
廉洁(lián jié) - integrity and honest
遗失(yí shī) - lose
据为己有(jù wéi jǐ yǒu) - take for your own
惭愧(cán kuì) - feel ashamed
织布机(zhī bù jī) - loom
锦缎(jǐn duàn) - brocade
前功尽弃(qián gōng jìn qì) - waste all previous effort
博学(bó xué) - knowledgeable
一年后，乐羊子突然回到家中. 他的妻子很惊讶地问： "你怎么回来了？你才和那些学者学了一年呀。"乐羊子说："我太想你了，所以回来看看。"
You picked up the valuables that someone else lost and kept it to yourself. What do you think of this behaviour?”
After listening to his wife’s comment, Yue felt very ashamed and returned the gold back to the initial place [where he found it].
Next year, Yue left home to a very far place for seeking a teacher to apprentice under (this is a chengyu that means studying in the modern sense).
After a year, Yue suddenly came home. His wife was surprised and asked: "How come you came back? You have only spent one year studying with those scholars." Yue said: "I came back because I missed you so much."
After hearing that, without saying anything, his wife took a pair of scissors and walked to her loom. She pointed at the half-done brocade and said: "This brocade is made with the best silk. I wove it from the first strand until now. If I cut it off now, it means that all the effort that I put into this brocade will be gone down the drain. Just like your journey of learning, if you stop now, there will be no difference from cutting off the brocade on the loom."
Yue was inspired by wife’s words and left the house immediately to continue his study.
After several years, Yue finally finished his studies and became a learned person.