梁惠王好驱使百姓与邻国打仗。有一次梁惠王召见孟子,问道:“我在位,对于国家的治理,可以说是尽心尽意的了。河内常年发生灾荒,收成不好,我就把那里的一部分老百姓迁移到收成较好的河东去,并把收成较好的河东地区的一部分粮食运到河内来,让河内发生灾荒地区的老百姓不致于饿死。有时河东遇上灾年,粮食歉收,我也是这样,把其他地方的粮食调运到河东来,解决老百姓的无米之炊。我也看到邻国当政者的作法,没有哪一个像我这样尽心尽意替自己的老百姓着想的。然而,邻国的百姓没有减少,而我的百姓也没有增多,这是什么原因呢?”

孟子回答说:“大王喜欢打仗,我就用打仗来打个比方吧。战场上,两军对垒,战斗一打响,战鼓擂得咚咚地响,作战双方短兵相接,各自向对方奋勇刺杀。经过一场激烈拼杀后,胜方向前穷追猛杀,败方就有人丢盔弃甲,拖着兵器逃跑。那逃跑的士兵中有的跑得快,跑了一百步停下来了;有的跑得慢,跑了五十步停下来了。这时,跑得慢的士兵却为自己只跑了五十步就嘲笑那些跑了一百步的士兵是胆小鬼,您认为这种嘲笑是对的吗?”

 梁惠王说:“不对,他们只不过没有跑到一百步罢了,但是这也是临阵脱逃啊!”

孟子说:“大王如果明白了这其中的道理,那么就无须再希望您的国家的老百姓比邻国多了。”

这篇寓言故事说明:看事物应当看到事物的本质与全局,不能只看表面和局部。邻国国君不管灾荒年间老百姓的生活,是不爱百姓的国君。梁惠王常调动百姓去打仗,致使民不聊生,仍然是不爱百姓的国君。

The King of Liang Hui likes to make his people fight with their neighbors. One day, the king met with Mencius and asked, "I am in a position of power, regarding the country's governance, it can be said that I am working very hard in my role. Henei county often suffer from famine, the harvest is not good, so I let some of the people migrate to where the harvest is good, in Hedong, and ship the good harvest of Hedong to Henei, so that the people of Henei will not starve to death. Sometimes Hedong will encounter disaster and food failure, so I do the the same thing - transport the grain from the other places to Hedong to solve the people's food shortage. I see the practices of neighboring states, no one would do as I did for the best interests of their own people. However, the neighboring states' population did not decrease, and my people did not increase, what is the reason for this?"

Mencius replied: "Since Your Majesty likes to fight, I will use the battlefield to make an analogy: The two armies are in confrontation, war drums pounding loudly, fighting each other in close combat. After a fierce fight, the winning side gives chase, the losing side throws away their helmets and armors, dragging their weapons to escape. Some of the fleeing soldiers who are able to run fast ran a hundred steps until stopping; those who ran slowly ran for fifty steps, and the slow soldiers who ran fifty steps ridicule the soldiers who ran a hundred steps, calling them cowards. Do you think that this ridicule is deserved? "

The King of Liang Hui said: "No, they just did not go a hundred steps, and they are also fleeing!"

Mencius said, "If you, as the king, can understand the meaning behind the story, then there is no need for the people of your state to be more than your neighbors."

This fable's moral: To see the truth, one should observe the nature of things and the overall situation, not just look at the situation's facade and partial events. Neighboring states do not care for their people's lives during famine, so their kings are not good rulers who love the people. The King of Liang Hui often mobilizes people to fight wars, so that people are destitute, he is also not a ruler who really loves the people.