成語故事

The Man of Ch'i Fears That the Sky Will Fall

Over 2000 years ago, in the kingdom of Ch'i, there lived a man who feared that the sky would fall. Whenever the came upon another person, he would say, "Look! One of these days, the sky is going to fall! If that happens, where can we go? What can we do?" He worried so much that he could neither eat nor sleep. One of his friends told him that the sky was not like a roof, and could not fall, but the man just shook his head and said, "Although the sky is not a roof, still, it has the sun and the moon, and many, many stars. One of these days, they will fall down, and then what will we do?" His friend saw that he was still very anxious, and said to him, "There are so many people in this world, all living very happily. Why must you cause trouble for yourself?" The man didn't know what more he could say, and yet in his heart he still worried that the sky was going to fall.

Today, this idiom is used to remind people not to worry needlessly.

杞人憂天

從前在杞國,有一個膽子很小,而且有點神經質的人,他常會想到一些奇怪的問題,而讓人覺得莫名其妙。

有一天,他吃過晚飯以後,拿了一把大蒲扇,坐在門前程量,並且自言自語的說: “假如有一天,天塌了下來,那該怎麽辦呢?我們豈不是無路可逃,而將活活地被壓死,這不就太冤枉了嗎?”

從此以後,他幾乎每天爲這個問題發愁、煩惱,朋友見他終日精神恍惚,臉色憔悴,都很替他擔心,但是,當大家知道原因後,都跑來勸他說: “老兄啊!你何必爲這件事自尋煩惱呢?天空怎麽會塌下來呢?在說即使真的塌下來,那也不是你一個人憂慮發愁就可以解決的啊,想開點吧!”

可是,無論人家怎麽說,他都不相信,仍然時常爲這個不必要的問題擔憂。

後來的人就根據上面這個故事,引伸成“杞人憂天”這句成語,它的主要意義在喚醒人們不要爲一些不切實際的事情而憂愁。它與“庸人自擾”的意義大致相同。


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