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Phrase & Stories
Staying and Waiting for More Hares To Come

This story took place more than 2,000 years ago, in the Warring States period£隆搂475-221 B.C.£©.Tradition has it that in the State of Song at that time there was a man who was famous for staying by a stump waiting for more hares to come and dash themselves against it.
He was a young farmer, and his family had been farmers for generations. Year after year and generation after generation, farmers used to sow in spring and harvest in autumn, beginning to work at sunrise and retiring at sunset. In good harvest years, they could only have enough food to eat and enough clothing to wear. If there was a famine due to crop failure, they had to go hungry.
This young farmer wanted to improve his life. But he was too lazy and too cowardly. Being lazy and cowardly over everything, he often dreamed of having unexpected blessings.
A miracle took place at last. One day in late autumn, when he was ploughing in the field, two groups of people were hunting nearby. As shoutings were rising one after another, scared hares were running desperately. Suddenly, a blind hare dashed itself headlong against the stump of a dead tree in his field and died.
That day, he ate his fill.
From that day on, he no longer went in for farming again. From morning till night, he stayed by that miraculous stump, waiting for miracles to take place again.
This story comes from "The Five Vermin" in The Works of Han Feizi. Later generations often use the set phrase "staying by a stump waiting for more hares to come and dash themselves against it" to show grusting to chance and windfalls or dreaming to reap without sowing. It is also used to show adhering to narrow experiences and not being able to be flexible.

 
   
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