螳螂捕蟬,黃雀在後

ChineseEdit

praying mantis to catch; to seize; to capture cicada Eurasian siskin
 
(located) at; in; exist; (before verbs) immediately involved in; right in the middle of doing
 
back; behind; rear; afterwards; after; later
trad. (螳螂捕蟬,黃雀在後) 螳螂 黃雀
simp. (螳螂捕蝉,黄雀在后) 螳螂 黄雀
Literally: “the mantis catches the cicada, unaware of the siskin behind”.

EtymologyEdit

左右:「!」孺子不敢:「如此!」,
:「悲鳴不知螳螂螳螂不知黃雀黃雀螳螂不知不顧。」
:「!」
[Classical Chinese, trad.]
左右:“!”孺子不敢怀:“如此!”,
:“悲鸣不知螳螂螳螂不知黄雀黄雀螳螂不知不顾。”
:“!”
[Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Garden of Stories (說苑), Liu Xiang (劉向)
Wú wáng yù fá jīng, gào qí zuǒyòu yuē: “Gǎn yǒu jiàn zhě sǐ!” Shè rén yǒu shào rúzǐ yù jiàn bùgǎn, zé huái wán cāo dàn, yóu yú hòu yuán, lù zhān qí yī, rú shì zhě zài sān. Wú wáng yuē: “Zǐ lái, hé kǔ zhān yī rúcǐ!”,
Duì yuē: “Yuán zhōng yǒu shù, qí shàng yǒu chán, chán gāo jū bēimíng, yǐn lù, bùzhī tángláng zài qí hòu yě; tángláng wěi shēn qū fù, yù qǔ chán, bùzhī huángquè zài qí páng yě; huángquè yán jǐng, yù zhuó tángláng, ér bùzhī dàn wán zài qí xià yě. Cǐ sān zhě jiē wù yù dé qí qián lì, ér bùgù qí hòu zhī yǒu huàn yě.”
Wú wáng yuē: “Shàn zāi!” Nǎi bà qí bīng.
[Pinyin]
Emperor Wu wanted to subdue the Chu state, and told the ministers, "I will kill everyone who dare to remonstrate me not to send troops!" A young man tried to remonstrate Emperor Wu but did not dare. He had hidden a projectile in his bosom with a slingshot in hand, and when wandering in the backyard, the dew wet his clothes for a few days like this. Emperor Wu said, "Why do you wet your clothes so hardly?"
The young man replied, "There is a tree in the garden, a cicada on the tree. The cicada is standing at a high place while wailing and drinking dew, Knowing that the praying mantis is behind it; the praying mantis curled up close to the branch, bent its forelimbs, and wanted to grab the cicada, but did not know that the siskin was next to it; the siskin extended its neck to peck the mantis, but did not know that the slingshot and the projectile are underneath it. All three of them should want to get immediate benefits without considering the hidden dangers behind them."
Emperor Wu said, "Okay!" So Emperor Wu stopped sending troops.

PronunciationEdit


IdiomEdit

螳螂捕蟬,黃雀在後

  1. to pursue a narrow gain while neglecting a greater danger