Chinese Idiom Stories
To Be As If Sitting On a Bed of Needles
During the Chin dynasty there lived a man named Du Shi, who from his youth was hard working and intelligent. As an adult, he was very knowledgeable and capable, and so he went to work in the palace.
Min Huai, the crown prince of the time, did not strive for progress. He had an irritable disposition, and often did irrational things. Du Shi was by his side everyday, criticizing his ways, saying that he was irrational and knew nothing. This made Min Huai very unhappy, as he felt that this was none of Du Shi's business. So one day, he sent someone to fill the cushion that Du Shi usually sat on full of needles. When Du Shi sat down, he was stuck so badly that he began to bleed. Several days later, the crown prince asked him, "So, what have you been doing these past few days?" Du Shi answered, "I've been drunk, and don't remember a thing." How come you also do wrong things?" Du Shi had no reply, and yet he couldn't leave. He did not know whether to laugh or to cry.
Today, a person who finds himself in a difficult situation can be said to be "as if sitting on a bed of needles."