Southern Dynasties of Jiang Yan, word Wen-tung, when he was young, became a Dingdingyouming writer, his poems and articles at the time received high acclaims. However, when he is getting older, he has not previously written an article good, but a lot of setbacks. His poems written in prosaic; and pick up a pen-yin grip for a long time, still can not write a word, the occasional inspiration came; poem written, but the textual Kuse, content, plain were completely useless. So some people to legend, once a boat parked in Chan Jiang Yan-Ling Monastery river and dream of a self-named Zhang Jingyang person; to his followers repay a silk, he would arrest a few feet from her, he is also silk. Thus, his article there will be no wonderful. It was also legend; once the rule of Jiang Yan in the booth sleeping too; dreamed that a person claiming to Guo Pu, walked over to his side, his claim to the pen, said to him: "Man Michie, I have a pen in your place has been a long time, and now should be able to give it to me the bar! "Jiang Yan heard, they dig out from his arms, he is also a five-color pen. Reportedly Since then, Jiang Yan on Evans exhausted and could not write the article in any good.

       Jiang Yan's talent has not really run out, but he was an officer after the one hand, as the Chief busy, on the other hand also because of career proud of, without their own write, to sweat, they did not write the. Over time, the article will bring out less, lacking in talent. (Excerpt from "Practical Writing" 1995 No. 8 "I hope," Jiang "was not exactly")

        南朝的江淹,字文通,他年轻的时候,就成为一个鼎鼎有名的文学家,他的诗和文章在当时获得极高的评价。 可是,当他年纪渐渐大了以后,他的文章不但没有以前写得好了,而且退步不少。他的诗写出来平淡无奇;而且提笔吟握好久,依旧写不出一个字来,偶尔灵感来了;诗写出来了,但文句枯涩,内容 平淡得一无可取。于是就有人传说,有一次江淹乘船停在禅灵寺的河边,梦见一 个自称叫张景阳的人;向他讨还一匹绸缎,他就从怀中拘出几尺绸缎还他。因此,他的文章以后便不精彩了。又有人传说;有一次江淹在冶亭中睡午觉;梦见一个自称郭璞 的人,走到他的身边,向他索笔,对他说:“文通兄,我有一支笔在你那儿已经很久了,现在应该可以还给我了吧!” 江淹听了,就顺手从怀里取出一支五色笔来还他。据说从此以后,江淹就文思枯竭,再也写不出什么好的文章了。




       A man of the state of Chu (chǔ guó 楚国) had a spear and a shield for sale.


       He was loud in praises of his shield."My shield is so strong that nothing can pierce it through."


       He also sang praises of his spear."My spear is so strong that it can pierce through anything."


       "What would happen," he was asked, "if your spear is used to pierce your shield?"


       It is impossible for an impenetrable shield to coexist with a spear that finds nothing impenetrable.



       volunteer to do sth/recommend oneself毛遂自荐

        In the Warring States Period, the State of Qin besieged the capital of the State of Zhao.战国时代,秦国军队攻打赵国的都城。

        Duke Pingyuan of Zhao planned to ask the ruler of the State of Chu personally for assistance.He wanted to select a capable man to go with him. 赵国的平原君打算亲自到楚国去请救兵,想挑选一个精明能干的人一同前去。

        A man called Mao Sui volunteered. 有一个名叫毛遂的人,自告奋勇愿意同去。

        When the negotiactions between the two states were stalled because the ruler of Chu hesitated to send troops, Mao Sui approached him, brandishing a sword. At that, the ruler of Chu agreed to help Zhao, against Qin.平原君到楚国后,与楚王谈了半天,没有一点结果。毛遂怒气冲冲地拿着宝剑,逼近楚王,终于迫使楚王答应出兵,与赵国联合共同抵抗秦国。

        This idiom means to recommend oneself.“毛遂自荐”这个成语用来比喻自己推荐自己,不必别人介绍。


        英文中“毛遂自荐”可以说成“volunteer to do sth”,“volunteer”既可以作名词,也可以作动词,作名词时的意思是“志愿者”,作动词就可以解释为“志愿去做什么事”,就是“毛遂自荐”啦~


        Our company volunteered to support and help the victims. 我们的公司毛遂自荐来帮助受灾灾民。

        You can volunteer to work one or multiple shifts。你可以毛遂自荐做单班制,也可以选择多班制。



       A Broken Mirror Joined Together

       This set phrase metaphorically means the reunion of husband and wife after an enforced separation or a rupture.

       At the end of Southern Dynasties,when the Chen Dynasty was about to be overthrown.

       Xú Déyán felt very worried.He foreknew that his wife Princess Lè Chāng was destined to separate from him.

       His wife is the last Emperor Chén Shūbǎo's younger sister.

       Hence he broke a round bronze mirror into halves.

       One half is given to the Princess,the other half left with himself.

       The couple agreed on it that the wife would pretend to sell the broked mirror in the street of Cháng'ān,the capital of the Suí Dynasty,on the Lantern Festival.

       After the fall of Chén Dynasty,Princess Lè Chāng was captured and sent to Chang'an and forced to be a concubine-servant in the mansion of Yáng Sù.

       Xú Déyán missed his wife very much and went to the captial to look for her.

       On the 15th day of the first lunar month,he found a man selling half the mirror.

       After asking the man,he knew that his wife had been a concubine-servant of Yáng Sù. Thinking that he could not see her again,he sighed a great sorrow.

       Having known the matter,Yáng Sù felt much sympathy for the couple.He sent for Xú Déyán and told him to take wife away.Thus the husband and the wife were reunited into a happy couple.




       Birds Startled by the Mere Twang of a Bowstring


       In the Warring States Period, there was a man in the State of Wei called Geng Lei. One day he said to the king: 'I can shoot down birds by simply plucking my bowstring.' When the king expressed doubt, Geng Lei pointed his bow at a wild goose flying in the sky, twanged the bowstring, and the goose fell to the ground. Geng Lei said, 'This goose has been hurt in the past. Hearing the twang of the bowstring, it assumed that it was doomed. So it simply gave up trying to live.'


       This idiom means that if one has been frightened in the past one's will may become paralysed in a similar situation.


       Mao Sui Recommending Himself


       In the Warring States Period, the State of Qin besieged the capital of the State of Zhao. Duke Pingyuan of Zhao planned to ask the ruler of the State of Chu personally for assistance. He wanted to select a capable man to go with him. A man called Mao Sui volunteered. When the negoti-actions between the two states were stalled because the ruler of Chu hesitated to send troops, Mao Sui approached him, brandishing a sword. At that, the ruler of Chu agreed to help Zhao, against Qin.


       This idiom means to recommend oneself.


       A Haven of Peace and Happiness


       Tao Yuanming, a famous writer of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), wrote the well-known essay Peach-Blossom Spring. In it he tells a story which goes like this: A fisherman happened to come upon a place called Peach-Blossom Spring. Squeezing through a cave, he found a village, the residents of which were descendants of refugees from the Qin Dynasty. It was a paradise isolated from the outside world, without exploitation or oppression, and everybody living and working in peace and contentment. The fisherman left the villagers and went home. But he could never find the place again.


       This idiom is derived from the above story, and is used to mean an isolated, ideal world.


       Going South by Driving the Chariot North


       Once a man wanted to go to the south, but his carriage was heading north. A passer-by asked him: 'If you are going to the south, why is your chariot heading north? ' The man answered, 'My horse is good at running, my driver is highly skilled at driving a carriage, and I have enough money. ' The man didn't consider that the direction might be wrong; the better his conditions were, the further he was away from his destination.


       The idiom derived from this story indicates that one's action was the opposite effect to one's intention.


       Putting the Finishing Touch to the Picture of a Dragon


       In the Southern and Northern Dynasties Period (420-589), there was a painter called Zhang Sengyou. Once he visited a temple and painted on the wall four dragons, but gave none of them eyes. The onlookers felt that this was odd, and asked why he hadn't painted the eyes. He answered, 'Eyes are crucial for dragons. With the eyes painted on, the dragons would fly away.' Nobody believed this, so Zhang Sengyou took up his brush and added eyes to two of the dragons. No sooner had he finished than the two dragons flew into the sky amid a thunderstorm. The two without eyes stayed painted on the wall.


       This idiom is used to describe how, when writing or speaking, one or two key sentences will enhance the contents.


       Drawing a snake and Adding Feet


       In the Warring States Period, a man in the State of Chu was offering a sacrifice to his ancestors. After the ceremony, the man gave a beaker of wine to his servants. The servants thought that there was not enough wine for all them, and decided to each draw a picture of a snake; the one who finished the picture first would get the wine. One of them drew very rapidly. Seeing that the others were still busy drawing, he added feet to the snake. At this moment another man finished, snatched the beaker and drank the wine, saying, 'A snake doesn't have feet. How can you add feet to a snake? '


       This idiom refers to ruining a venture by doing unnecessary and surplus things.


       Showing Off One's Proficiency with the Axe Before Lu Ban the Master Carpenter


       Lu Ban was supposed to be a consummate carpenter in ancient times. It is said that he once carved a wooden phoenix that was so lifelike that it actually flew in the sky for three days. Thus it was considered the height of folly to show off one's skill with an axe in front of Lu Ban.


       This idiom excoriates those who show off their slight accomplishments in front of experts.

       可爱多 2005-6-13 08:38


       So Angry That One' s Hair Lifts Up One' s Hat


       In the Warring States Period, Lin Xiangru, chief min-ister of the State of Zhao, was sent as an envoy to the State of Qin to ask the ruler of Qin to return a fine piece of jade to Zhao. But the ruler of Qin was rude and unreasonable. Lin was angry, and his hair stood up so stiffly on his head that it lifted up his hat.


       This idiom came to be used to mean being extremely angry.


       Allaying Hunger with Pictures of Cakes


       In the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), the king of the Wei, Cao Rui, wanted to select a very capable man to work for him. He said to his ministers: 'When choosing a talented person, always beware of one with a false reputation. A false reputation is just like a picture of a cake; it can' t relieve hunger.'


       Later, this idiom came to be used to mean comforting oneself with unrealistic thoughts, without solving practical problems.


       Amazing the World with a Single Feat


       In the Warring States Period, Duke Wei of Qi neglected state affairs, for the first three years of his reign, giving himself over to dissipation. One of his ministers, Chun Yukun who had a good sense of humour, said to him: 'There is a big bird which has neither taken wing nor sung for three years.' The duke answered, 'Once that bird starts to fly and sing, it will astonish the world.' The duke thereupon devoted himself to his duties and built his state up into a powerful one.


       This idiom is used to indicate that a person may rise from obscurity and achieve greatness.


       Sitting by a Stump, Waiting for a Careless Hare


       In the Spring and Autumn Period, a farmer in the State of Song was one day working in the fields when he saw a rabbit bump into a tree stump accidentally and break its neck. The farmer took the rabbit home, and cooked himself a delicious meal. That night he thought, 'I needn't work so hard. All I have to do is wait for a rabbit each day by the stump.' So from then on he gave up farming, and simply sat by the stump waiting for rabbits to come and run into it.


       This idiom satirizes those who just wait for a stroke of luck, rather than making efforts to obtain what they need.

       Zengzi Slaughters a Pig


       engzi’s wife was going to the market. Her little son insisted on going with her, making a tearful scene. “Stay at home,” she said to the boy. “When I come back, I will slaughter a pig for you.” When she came back, Zengzi got ready to slaughter the pig. His wife stopped him, saying: “I was just kidding.” “A child is not to be kidded like that!” he replied. “A child does not know much and cannot judge for himself. He learns from his parents and listens to what they day. To lie to him is to teach him to lie to others. If a mother lies to her son, he will not trust her anymore. How is she then to educate him?” With that Zengzi went to slaughter the pig and prepare a good meal for their son.

       曾子的妻子到集市上去, 他的儿子哭着要跟去. 他的母亲说: “你回家呆着,待会儿我回来杀猪给你吃.” 她刚从集市上回来, 曾子就要捉猪去杀. 妻子劝止他说: “只不过是跟孩子开玩笑罢了.” 曾子说: “不能跟孩子开玩笑啊! 小孩子没有思考和判断能力, 要想父母亲学习, 听从父母的教导. 现在你欺骗他,这是教孩子骗人啊! 母亲欺骗儿子, 儿子就不再相信自己的母亲了, 这不是实现教育的方法.” 于是曾子就杀猪煮肉给孩子吃.


       Basking in Reflected Glory


       A tiger caught a fox in a forest, and was just about to eat it, when the fox said, 'You mustn't eat me. I was sent by Heaven to rule the animals. By eating me, you will violate the command of Heaven. If you don't believe me, just follow me to see whether the animals are afraid of me.' The tiger agreed, and followed the fox as it walked around the forest. The animals all ran away on seeing them. The tiger thought they were afraid of the fox, so he let it go. He didn't realise that it was him that the beasts were really afraid of.


       This idiom means relying on another's power to bully or frighten others.


       A Broken Mirror Made Whole Agian


       In the Northern and Southern Dynasties when the State of Chen (A.D. 557-589) was facing its demise, Xu Deyan, husband of the princess, broke a bronze mirror into halves. Each of them kept a half as tokens in case they were separated. Soon afterwards, they did lose touch with each other, but the two halves of the mirror enabled them to be reunited.


       This idiom is used to refer to the reunion of a couple after they lose touch or break up.


       Rousing the Spirits with the First Drum Roll


       During the Spring and Autumn Period, an army from the State of Qi confronted one from the State of Lu. After the first roll of drums from the Qi side to summon Lu to battle, the Lu ruler wanted to attack. But his counsellor Cao Gui said, 'We should wait until the third drum roll, sire.' After the Qi side had beaten the drums three times, the Lu army attacked and defeated the Qi army. After the battle, the king asked Cao Gui the reason for his odd advice. Cao Gui answered, 'Fighting needs spirit. Their spirit was aroused by the first roll or the drums, but was depleted by the second. And it was completely exhausted by the third. We started to attack when their spirit was exhausted. That's why we won.'


       This idiom later meant to get something done with one sustained effort.


       During the Spring and Autumn period (770-476BC), the State of Wu launched an attack against the State of Yue. The King of Wu was seriously wounded and soon died. His son Fu Chai became the new King. Fu was determined to get revenge. He drilled his army rigidly until it was a perfect fighting force. Three years later, he led his army against the State of Yue and caught its king Gou Jian. Fu took him to the State of Wu.


        In order to avenge his father's death, Fu let him live in a shabby stone house by his father's tomb and ordered him to raise horses for him. Gou pretended to be loyal to Fu but he never forgot his humiliation. Many years later, he was set free. Gou secretly accumulated a military force after he went back to his own state. In order to make himself tougher he slept on firewood and ate a gall-bladder before having dinner and going to bed every night. At the same time he administered his state carefully, developing agriculture and educating the people. After a few years, his country became strong. Then Gou seized a favorable opportunity to wipe out the State of Wu.


        Later, people use it to describe one who endures self-imposed hardships to strengthen one's resolve to realize one's ambition.


       一.刻舟求剑Making His Mark A man from the state of Chu was crossing a river. In the boat, his sword fell into the water. Immediately he made a mark on the boat. "This is where my sword fell off," he said. When the boat stopped moving, he went into the water to look for his sword at the place where he had marked the boat. The boat had moved but the sword had not. Is this not a very foolish way to look for a sword? 战国时,楚国有个人坐船渡江。船到江心,他一不小心。把随身携带的一把宝剑掉落江中。他马上掏出一把小刀,在船舷上刻上一个记号,说:“这是我宝剑落水的地方,所以我要刻上一个记号。” 船靠岸后,那楚人立即从船上刻记号的地方跳下水去捞取掉落的宝剑。捞了半天,仍不见宝剑的影子。其实他又怎么找得到宝剑呢?船继续行驶,而宝剑却不会再移动。像他这样去找剑,真是太愚蠢可笑了。 二 守株待兔Staying by a Stump Waiting for More Hares To Come and Dash Themselves Against It Staying by a Stump Waiting for More Hares To Come and Dash Themselves Against It This story took place more than 2,000 years ago,in the Warring States period(475-221 B.C.).Tradition has it that in the State of Song at that time there was a man who was famous for staying by a stump waiting for more hares to come and dash themselves against it. He was a yong farmer,and his family had been farmers for generations.Year after year and generation after generation, farmers used to sow in spring and harvest in autumn,beginning to work at sunrise and retiring at sunset.In good harvest years,they could only have enough food to eat and enough clothing to wear.If there was a famine due to crop failure,they had to go hungry. This young farmer wanted to improve his life.But he was too lazy and too cowardly.Being lazy and cowardly over everything,he often dreamed of having unexpected blessings. A miracle took place at last. One day in late autumn,when he was ploughing in the field,two groups of people were hunting nearby.As shoutings were rising one after another,scared hares were running desperately.Suddenly,a blind hare dashed itself headlong against the stump of a dead tree in his field and died. That day,he ate his fill. From that day on,he no longer went in for farming again.From morning till night,he stayed by that miraculous stump,waiting for miracles to take place again. This story comes from"The Five Vermin"in The Works of Han Feizi.Later generations often use the set phrase"staying by a stump waiting for more hares to come and dash themselves against it"to show grusting to chance and windfalls or dreaming to reap without sowing.It is also used to show adhering to narrow experiences and not being able to be flexible. 相传在战国时代宋国,有一个农民,日出而作,日入而息.遇到好年景,也不过刚刚吃饱穿暖;一遇灾荒,可就要忍饥挨饿了.他想改善生活,但他太懒,胆子又特小,干什么都是又懒又怕,总想碰到送上门来的意外之财。 奇迹终于发生了。深秋的一天,他正在田里耕地,周围有人在打猎。吆喝之声四处起伏,受惊的小野兽没命的奔跑。突然, 有一只兔子,不偏不倚,一头撞死在他田边的树根上。 当天,他美美地饱餐了一顿。 从此,他便不再种地。一天到晚,守着那神奇的树根,等着奇迹的出现。 成语“守株待兔”,比喻亡想不劳而得,或死守狭隘的经验,不知变通。 "An illusory snake in a goblet" is used to describe the psychological state of being frightened caused by taking illusions as reality. “杯弓蛇影”比喻把虚幻当作真实的恐惧心理。 ------------------------------------------------------- In Jin Dynasty there was a man named Yue Guang who was fond of drinking alcohol. 晋朝有个叫乐(yuè)广的人,爱喝酒。 One day, he invited a friend to his house to drink together. 一天,他邀请朋友到家里来对斟(zhēn)对饮。 Suddenly, his friend saw the reflection of a snack swimming in the goblet. 忽然,朋友看见酒杯里有条蛇影在游动。 He got so much frightened that he took ill on bed after getting home. 他受了惊吓,回去便一病不起。 And neither any doctor or any medicine could cure his illness. 请医服药,都无起色。 Yue Guang came to see him and asked about the cause of his disease. 乐广跑来看他,问明起病的缘由。 When he got to know the cause, he pulled his friend from the bed immdiately and took him to his house. 乐广听后一把拉起朋友往家走。 Yue Guang made his friend sit where he used to, pouring a goblet of alcohol for him, and asked him," Is there any snake reflection in the goblet?" 他让朋友坐在原处,斟满酒问:“有蛇影吗?” There was still a "snake reflection" in the goblet! Yue casually took away the bow hanging on the wall. 杯子里还有“蛇影”!乐广随手取下墙上的弓。 This time, the "snake reflection" disappeared. 这次,“蛇影”不见了! "So it was the bow reflection that was in the goblet!" His friend at once got well from his illness. “杯子里原来是弓影呀!”朋友的病情顿时好了! 天衣无缝 There was a man called Guo Han in the Tang Dynasty(618-907).One summer night, when the moon was very bright he suddenly saw a girl descending slowly from the sky. He observed the girl closely, and found that the dress she was wearing was seamless. He was puzzled, and asked why. The girl answered,"Heavenly clothes are not sewn with needle and thread." This idiom is used metaphorically to indicate the flawless handling of things. It can also be used to indicate a perfectly written poem or other literary article. 唐朝有个人教郭翰。一个夏天的晚上,月光非常明亮,他忽然看见天空中有个女子轻盈而缓慢地飘落下来。他仔细地观察那个女子,发现她身上穿的衣服连一条缝也没有,感到非常奇怪,便问那个女子。女子回答说:“天衣本来就用不着针线缝合的呀!” 这个成语用来比喻处理事情十分周密,不露一点痕迹。也比喻诗文写得很精辟,找不出一点毛病。 一丘之貉 In the Han Dynasty, there was an official called Yang Yun who was both capable and honest. Commenting on the assassination of a king of a small state, he said, “If a king refuses to follow the advice of a wise minister, he will suffer an unitimely death. The emperor of the Qin Dynasty trusted treacherous ministers, and therefore lost his state.” He compared kings and emperors to racoons living on the same mountain. This idiom refers derogatorily to people who are of the same kind. 汉朝时,有个叫杨恽的人,在朝廷做官,廉洁无私,有很有才能。有一次,他听说一个小国王被杀死,就发表议论说:“君王不采纳贤臣的计策,就会得到这种下场。秦朝皇帝宠信奸臣,所以亡国;如果重用贤臣,他的国家就不会灭亡了。”他最后总结说,古今的帝王都不过是一个山丘上的貉而已。 这个成语比喻某些人彼此相同,或者都是坏人。 黔驴技穷 从前,贵州没有驴子,有人从外地带回一头驴子,拴在山下,一只老虎看到了,以为是什么怪物,急忙躲到树林中去头头地瞧。驴子大叫一声,老虎吓了一跳,以为驴子要吃掉自己。时间一长,老虎觉得驴子没有什么恶意,逐渐走近去戏弄它,触犯它。驴子生气了,用蹄子踢老虎。老虎心里想:“你的本领不过就是如此啊!”于是立刻扑过去,一口把它咬死吃掉了。 这个成语比喻仅有的一点本事也用完了,在没有别的办法了。 The Guizhou Donkey Has Exhausted It's Tricks In ancient times there were no donkeys in Guizhou province. Somebody brought a donkey from somewhere and tied it to a tree at the foot of a mountain. A tiger saw the donkey, and thought that it must be a fearsome monster. It hide behind a tree and spied on the donkey. When the donkey brayed, the tiger was frightened, thinking that the donkey was about to devour it. After a while, seeing that the donkey had not moved, the tiger approached it and teased it. The donkey became angry, and kicked the tiger. The tiger thought to itself:"It then all it is capable of?" It then jumped on the donkey and ate it. This idiom is used to mean that one has exhauseted one's skills.