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        Home Chinese Idiom 望洋興嘆 (wàng yáng xīng tàn)
        望洋興嘆 (wàng yáng xīng tàn)
        Learn Chinese - Chinese Idiom

        altThis is an old fable story about the gods. Long long ago, there lived in the Yellow River (huáng hé 黃河) a river god known as He Bo (hé bó河伯). One day, He Bo stood on the riverbank and watched the turbulent waves from the west surging forward to the east. Being very impressed by the magnificent scene, he said excitedly and conceitedly:"How big the Yellow River is !It’s so broad and spectacular that can dwarf any other rivers in the world. Well,it’s safe to say that I am the greatest river god."

        One man disagreed with him by saying :"You would not say that if you have ever seen the North Sea,which is incomparable to the Yellow River." He Bo responed arrogantly,"I don't believe it. Big as the North Sea is, can it be bigger than Yellow River?" The man laughed,"Should the water of several Yellow Rivers all flow into the North sea, it could not fill the North Sea, let alone one Yellow River. You will not be able to understand what I mean until you have a chance to see the North Sea in person."

        Winter came, and torrential rain had been falling for days on end. Rivers big and small emptied themselves into the Yellow River, making the Yellow River even broader.Standing on one side of the river, people could hardly tell what animals the oxen and horses on the other side of the river were. Thus He Bo was even more proud, thinking that all the magnificent sights were accumulated here. Then, remembering the North Sea which had been mentioned to him before,he decided to go there and have a look.

        He went downstream, and arrived at the river mouth to the sea. Suddenly, the god of the North Sea, whose name was Biennia Ruo, appeared before his eyes.With a smile,Beihai Ruo was welcoming He Bo to the North sea. He looked ahead,and saw that the North Sea, with its vast expanse of water, was boundless. With a dull look in his eyes,He Bo stood there for a while. Finally he said to Beihai Ruo with deep feeling, "As the common saying goes, some people go so far as to think that they are more knowledgeable than anybody else when they have got some knowledge. Actually I am one of such people. If I had not seen with that the Yellow River is matchless in the world. If I remained like that, I would be laughed at for ever by sensible people."




        河伯順流來到黃河的入海口,,突然眼前一亮,海神北海若正笑容滿面地歡迎他的到來,河伯放眼望去,只見北海汪洋一片,無邊無涯,他呆呆地看了一會兒,深有 感觸地對北海若說:“俗話說,只懂得一些道理就以為誰都比不上自己,這話說的就是我呀。今天要不是我親眼見到這浩瀚無邊的北海,我還會以為黃河是天下無比 的呢!那樣,豈不被有見識的人永遠笑主。”


        望洋興嘆(wàng yáng xīng tàn)
        【翻譯】Lamenting One's Littleness before the Vast Ocean.


        China Yellow Pages