成語故事

The Prime Minister's Gift

Lie Zi was poor. Oftern he and his wife had to go hungry, so they both looked malnourished.
Somebody reported his plight to the Prime Minister, "Here's a virtuous man, Lie Zi, who lives in your state, and yet he's starving. Does that mean you don't care a button for men of virtue?"

The Prime Minister immediately sent some men to deliver food to Lie Zi.
On seeing the envoys coming from a distance, Lie Zi hurried to the door and politely refused the Prime Minister' s gift. After the envoys were gone, he went back into the house. There he found his wife, weeping.

"I hear people say that wives of virtuous men all do well. Yet here I am starving most of the time!" she moaned.
"Now that the Prime Minister knows about our poverty and is trying to help, you refuse him. Fate must have decided that we should be poor!" she cried bitterly.

Lie Zi comforted her saying,"The Prime Minister is not sending us food because he respects me. It is because somebody has told him so. In future he might just as well listen to somebody else's words and find fault with me. That is why I couldn't accept his gift."

Some time later the people rose up against the Prime Minister and had him killed.

無功不受祿

列子家貧,常要挨餓,因此夫婦二人都面黃肌瘦。

有人對丞相說:「列子賢德,現住在你國內卻一貧如洗。難道你不喜歡有德行的人嗎?」
丞相聽了這些話後,馬上派人送食物給列子。

列子看見使者從遠處走來,立即趨前迎接,婉辭食物。
使者走後,列子返回家中,看見妻子正在低頭飲泣。

妻子埋怨說:「我聽說有德之士的妻子,皆生活舒適,而我卻常要挨餓。現在丞相知道我們的苦況而送來食物,你竟一口拒絕。莫非我們命該如此!」

列子安慰她說:「丞相送來食物,並不是因為他賞識我,而是因為別人叫他這樣做而已,將來他也可聽信別人的話而加罪於我,因此我不能接受他的好意。」

後來,人民不滿丞相,群起造反,把他殺掉了。


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