Chinese Idiom Stories
To Bring Disaster Upon The Fish
During the Spring and Autumn Period, there lived a man named Huan Sz-ma who had a very big, very precious jewel. When the king found out about this, he wanted very much to obtain this treasure for himself, and sent someone to ask Huan Sz-ma just where he kept his jewel hidden. Huan Sz-ma replied, "I threw it into the moat outside the city wall."
And so the greedy king ordered that all of the water be emptied from the moat, and that the mud be searched until this jewel was found. The moat was so big and the jewel so small that although the people searched for a long time, they never found it. But because the moat had been drained dry, and there were so many people walking through the mud, all of the fish that lived in the moat died.
Today, this idiom can be used to describe a situation in which an innocent person becomes involved in a harmful situation.