So I thought it would be a good idea to start a new category/series to post based around 成语 (chéng yǔ), which means an idiom, proverb or a wise saying, usually 4 characters long). They are often referred to as Chinese idioms or four-character idioms (四字成语). If you are interested in taking a peak into Chinese culture and history on top of learning Mandarin, you will love this new series as they are often packed with interesting tales and folklore as the connotation in the derivation of these proverbs.
Just a few words on the cultural significance of the word 乌鸦 (crow) because otherwise its occurrence in the story won't make much sense to you without the context. Traditionally, Chinese people view crows as a symbol of bad luck. Crows are believed to be a negative omen that usually signifies that bad stuff is going to happen to you soon. That's the reason why the first official mentioned a crow. The point in the text is if you like someone then you essentially like everything about them - even a crow, which is usually despised or disliked by Chinese. Whereas if you don't like someone then you don't like everything about them. So the story uses walls and fences, which are totally inanimate objects and have done no wrong to you logically speaking but this shows that if you hate someone then you're going to hate even those irrelevant or small things that are associated with them. The story is highlighting human nature: that we humans are intrinsically biased.
I would rate this article as Advanced level reading practice. There are several tricky new words and cultural context that even if you used a dictionary to get the literal translation, you may still have difficulty understanding. But don't worry, as usual if you find this post difficult to follow, feel free to ask away in the comments below. Also, try to help each other out guys!
Have a great read!
战俘(zhàn fú) - prisoner of war
停留(tíng liú) - stop somewhere temporarily
屋顶(wū dǐng) - roof
乌鸦(wū yā) - crow
厌恶(yàn wù) - hate
墙壁(qiáng bì) - wall
围墙(wéi qiáng) - fencing
祸患(huò huàn) - calamity or disaster
妥当(tuǒ dang) - appropriate
耕种(gēng zhòng) - cultivate
赏罚(shǎng fá) - 赏 means rewards, 罚 means punishment
偏心(piān xīn) - biased
周王认为这样做不行。另外一个官员也提出了自己的意见：“依我看应该把战俘区分对待, 把有罪的和无罪的、好的和坏的区分开来。有罪的战俘要处死，不能留下祸患。” 周王认为这样做也不大妥当。
接着，又有一个官员说：“大王，我认为应该把这些战俘全都放了，让他们回到自己的家里，耕种田地，自食其力。而大王对自己的亲人和朋友，也要赏罚分明，不能偏心。通过道德和法律来治理国家，人民肯定会对大王信服的。” 周王听后觉得很有道理，就按这个办法去做. 结果国家真的很快安定下来了，变得越来越稳定和强大。
In the history of China, there was a country called “ Zhou”
One day, the King of Zhou asked his officials how to deal with war prisoners. One official said: "I've previously heard it's been said that: if you like someone [you will like everything about them], you would even like the crows that stop by (land temporarily) on the roof of their house; whereas if you hate someone [you will hate anything associated with them], you will even hate the walls and fences in his house. War prisoners are our enemies who are against us, therefore I suggest that we better execute all of them."
King Zhou did not agree with this. Another official also came up with his own suggestion: "From my perspective, we should treat war prisoners differently, separate the guilty ones from the innocent ones and bad ones from the kind ones. Sinful prisoners should be executed so that no evil will be retained.” However King Zhou thought that this idea was still inappropriate.
Then, yet another official said: "King, I think we should release all the war prisoners, let them go back to their houses and farms so they can cultivate the land so that they can build up their own lives. "Moreover," the official continued "the King should also be fair in meting out rewards and punishments to your relatives and friends and treat them impartially. People will definitely trust and obey you if you manage the country according to morality and the rule of law.”
King Zhou thought that was a very reasonable idea and followed it. Eventually the country soon settled down and became stronger and stable.
Meaning of the idiom: love me, love my dog loosely translates to - because you love someone, you will also love all the people and things that are related to him or her. Whereas if you hate someone, you will hate anything associated with them. In other words humans are intrinsically biased.