小儿辩日

Once, Confucius went to the east to advocate his ideas. On the way he met two children arguing hotly with each other. Confucius asked: "Children, what are you arguing about?"

 

One child said: "I think when the sun rises from the hills, it is nearer to us, and at noon, it is farther1 from us."

 

The other child argued: "I think when the sun rises from the hills, it is farther from us, but at noon it is nearer to us."

 

One child said: "As is known to all, things far away look smaller and things nearer look bigger. When the sun rises, it is as big as the canopy2 on a carnage; at noon it is only as big as a plate or a dish. Doesn't this show that when the sun rises, it is nearer to us?"

 

The other child said: "We all know that things nearby make us feel hot, and things far away make us feel cool. When the sun comes out, the air is clear and clean; at noon it is as hot as putting the hand in hot water. Doesn't this show that the sun is nearer to us at noon?"

 

The two children went on arguing endlessly. Confucius was unable to judge who was right. The two children laughed at him: "Who said you are learned3 and erudite?"

 

有一次,孔子到东方去游说,途中见到两个小孩正在激烈地争辩着。孔子问:“孩子们,你们在辩论什么呀?”

 

一个小孩说:“我认为,太阳刚刚出山时,离我们近;到了中午,就离我们远了。”

 

另一个小孩争辩说:“我认为,太阳刚出山时,离人远;中午时离人近。”

 

一个说:“众所周知,远的东西显得小,近的显得大。太阳刚出来时,大得像车上的伞盖;到了中午,就只有盘子、碟子那么大了。这不正说明太阳出山时离我们近吗?”

 

另一个却说:“大家知道,近的东西使人觉得热,远的使人觉得清凉。太阳刚出来时,空气清清爽爽的;到了中午,热得像把手伸到热水里一样。这不正说明太阳在中午时离我们近吗?”

 

两个小孩,争论不孔子无法判断谁是谁两个小孩嘲笑他说:“谁说你博学多知呢!”

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