从前,楚国有一个人,带了一把宝剑出去旅行。他离开家乡,走了好几天,前面出现了一条大江,他只得坐上船过江。

Once upon a time, a man from the state of Chu carried a sword (a weapon in ancient times) with him on his trip. A few days after he left his hometown, he came across a big river. He had no choice but to take a boat to cross the river.

他坐在船里,欣赏着江上的景色,心里非常愉快。过了一会儿,他想:在这风景优美的地方,要是能够舞一回剑,不是很难得的吗?

Sitting in the boat, he felt very happy to enjoy the scenery on the river. Later, an idea struck him, "Isn’t it wonderful to perform a sword-dance at the backdrop of such beautiful sceneries?"

于是,他将那把宝剑抽了出来,来到船头。但不幸的是,他刚舞了几下,不知怎么一失手就把宝剑掉到江里去了。

So he took out his sword and went to the bow. Unfortunately, just as he was starting to dance, the sword slipped from his hand and dropped into the river.

同船的人都知道这把剑很宝贵,连忙过来对他说:快呀,你自己要是不识水性,可以立刻请一个人,跳到江里去将它捞起来啊!

Knowing this sword was very valuable, all the other people on board hurried to him and said, "Jump into the river and get it! If you yourself cannot swim, ask somebody for help!"

不料,那宝剑的主人却不声不响,只是在宝剑落下去的船舷上深深地刻了一个记号,

However, the owner of the sword was not as worried. He simply carved a deep mark on the gunwale where his sword was dropped.

然后对众人说:不必着急!现在我已经在船舷上做了记号,还怕它飞到天上去吗?

Then he said to people around him, "No need to worry. I have already made a mark on the gunwale where the sword fell off. I will find it anyway."

同船的人看他傻头傻脑的,谁也不愿意再和他多说什么了。

At the sight of his foolish behavior, other people aboard thought he was a fool, and were not willing to say any more to him.

过了一会儿,船到了对岸,人们都准备上岸了。那宝剑的主人却慌慌张张地把衣服脱了,准备从刻着记号的船舷边跳下去。

Soon the boat reached the bank. When all the other people were ready to get off the boat, the sword owner hastily took off his clothes and was about to jump into the river at the marked side of the boat.

船上的客人都奇怪极了,问他:这时候你还跳下水去干什么呢?”那人回答:那还用说,当然是去打捞我的宝剑啊!

Much surprised by his strange action, others asked him, "What’s the point of jumping into the river now?" He replied, "Needless to say, to get back my sword of course!"

大家都笑起来说:你的宝剑是掉在江心的,现在船已到岸边了,要知道,船是在动的,剑是不会动的,你现在才跳下去,哪里还找得到呢?”

All the others burst into laughter, saying, "Your sword dropped into the middle of the river, whereas the boat is at the bank now. You know, the boat is moving but the sword is not. How can you find your sword if you jump into the river now?"

但是,那人却始终不相信。他不顾一切地跳了下去,东捞西摸了很久,直到一点儿力气也没有了,依旧找不到他的宝剑。

But that man did not believe their words at all. Regardless of anything, he jumped into the water and sought his sword for a long time until he had no strength to carry on. Yet he did not find his sword at last.

这就是刻舟求剑的故事,讽刺那些思想僵化、不懂得随客观情况的变化来处理事情的人。

This is the story of "刻舟求剑(Marking the boat to locate the sword". It is used to satirize those stubborn people who refuse to suit their actions to changed circumstances.

【注释】

1.失手:手没有控制住而造成意外后果。

2.不识水性:指不会游泳。

3.船舷:船两侧的边儿。

4.记号:为帮助记忆或识别而做的标志。

5.僵化:比喻事物凝固不动,停止发展。