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南辕北辙
Going South by Driving the Chariot north

从前有个人要到南方去,他坐的车子却向北方行驶。
Once a man wanted to go to the south, but his carriage was heading north.

过路人说:“你去南方,车子怎么向北行驶呢?”
A passer-by asked him:"You are going to the south, why is your chariot heading north?"

他回答说:“我的马很能跑路,我的车夫驾车的技术也很高明,加上我又带了充足的路费。我会到达目的地的。”
The man answered, "My horse is good at running, my driver is highly skilled at driving a carriage, and I have enough money. I can arrive my destination."

这个人没有考虑到,方向弄反了,他的条件越好,离他要去的地方就越远。
The man didn't consider that the direction might be wrong; the better his conditions were, the further he was away from his destination.

后来人们就把这个故事概括为“南辕北辙”,比喻一个人的行为和他的目的正好相反。
The idiom derived from this story indicates that one's action gets the opposite effect to one's intention.


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What do 辕 and 辙 mean?
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辕: shafts of a cart or carriage
辙: the track of a wheel
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