Chinese Idiom Stories
To Lose The Sheep On A Forked Road
Yang-tz was a great scholar of the Warring States Period. One day, his neighbor lost a sheep, and asked many of his friends and relatives to come help him look for it. Yang-tz asked his neighbor why he needed so many people to look for a single lost sheep. The neighbor replied that it was because there were many forks in the road, and without many people it would be impossible to find the sleep.
After awhile, all of the people who had been out looking for the sheep returned, none of them having had any luck. Yang-tz again asked his neighbor why, with so many people looking for the sheep, none of them had been able to find it. The neighbor answered that is was because each of the forks in the road had yet another fork, so the people looking for the sheep all ran back and forth several times. When his students asked him why he was so concerned about one little lost sheep, that wasn't even his own, Yang-tz replied, "I have learned somthing from this. When studying, if we don't take the right road, we'll wind up just like the people looking for the sheep. We'll waste time and energy, and yet never get anywhere."
Today, a person who does not concentrate on the subject he is studying or the task he is performing, and therefore achieves nothing, can be said to have "lost the sheep on a forked road."