Informant KY is my aunt who was born and raised in Shanghai, and came to the states when she was in her late 20s.
Phonetic：shou zhu dai tu
Translation: guard tree and wait for rabbit
How did the story go again?
KY: “Basically, the story behind this proverb is a guy, who always wanted become really rich and successful but was really lazy, was walking around in the woods one day. Then this rabbit jumps out of nowhere and runs into a tree killing itself. The guy quickly grabs the dead rabbit, goes home, and eats the best meal he’s ever had in his life. So he thinks ‘wait why don’t I just wait at the tree every day since rabbits will just kill themselves, its free food!’. So the next day this guy goes to the tree and waits for another rabbit to kill itself. Obviously there was no rabbit, but the guy keeps waiting day after day until eventually he dies. The meaning of this proverb is that even though sometimes we get lucky, we can’t expect the same thing to happen all the time or else we will end up failing.”
Even though the story behind this proverb is ridiculous, it makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of times where people get lucky and expect it to happen to them all the times and just wait for things to fall on their lap. Unfortunately, thats not how life works and we need to go out and be proactive to get the things in life that we want.
For another version of this story see: Chinese Proverb Stories: A Simplified Version of Ancient Chinese Stories with English for American Secondary School Students by HongChen Wang