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Getting the Casket and Returning the Pearl
Source (Copyright) by : chineselanguage.com
For students of Intermediate Level (What is it?)

 

买椟还珠

    有个楚国人想在郑国出售一颗珍贵的珍珠。他用木兰为珍珠作了个匣子,用香料把匣子熏香,还用珠,玉,红宝石来加以装饰,并插上了翠鸟的羽毛。一个郑国人买走了这个匣子,却把珍珠还给了他。
    过于华丽的装饰往往会喧宾夺主。那个楚国人知道如何卖掉匣子,却不擅长出售珍珠。至于买匣子的郑国人,他根本不懂什么才是真正有价值的。
(《韩非子》)

Getting the casket and returning the pearl

A man from the state of Chu wanted to sell a precious pearl in the state of Zheng. He made a casket for the pearl out of the wood from a magnolia tree, which he fumigated with spices. He studded the casket with pearls and jade, ornamented it with red gems and decorated it with kingfisher feathers. A man of the state of Zheng bought the casket and gave him back the pearl.
Too luxuriant decoration usually supersedes what really counts. This man from Chu certainly knew how to sell a casket but he was no good at selling his pearl. And the man of Zheng didn't know which is really valuable.
(《Hanfeizi》)

 

椟 box

珍贵 precious

珍珠 pearl

木兰 magnolia

匣子 casket

香料 spice

熏 fumigate

玉 jade

红宝石 red gem

装饰 decorate

翠鸟 kingfisher

羽毛 feather

华丽 luxuriant

擅长 be good at

 

 
 
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