成語故事

When One's Forefinger Jumps

During the Spring and Autumn Period, there lived two young aristocrats who worked as officials in the court of Duke Jeng Ling, one named Sung and the other named Jia. One monring, the two were on their way to court, when suddenly Sung's forefinger jumped up all by itself. He said to Jia, "Whenever my forefinger jumps, it means that I'm going to have something really good to eat that day. I wonder what it'll be today." (The Chinese word for "forefinger" is "food finger".)

When the two young men reached the court, they heard that someone had just sent over a soft-shelled turtle, and that in a little while, the duke was going to invite everyone to have some. Jia and Sung could not help laughing to themselves. When the duke heard the story, he also laughed and said, "Whether or not that forefinger is accurate depends on me!" And sure enough, when the turtle soup was brought out, the last bowl was given to the person right before Sung. Feeling very pleased with himself, the duke laughed and said. "Well?" But Sung reached into the duke's bowl, pulled out a piece of meat, and popped it into his mouth, saying, "Who said my fore-finger wasn't accurate?"

Today, when a person has a strong craving for a certain kind of food, we can say that "his forefinger is jumping."

食指大動

春秋時代,有兩個族的公子;一個叫宋、一個叫家,都在鄭靈公朝中當大夫﹝官名﹞。有一天早晨,他們一塊兒去朝見鄭靈公,宋的食指忽然自己跳動起來。他就告訴家說:「每次我的食指一跳動,那天就會吃到好吃又特別的東西。前兩次我出差到楚國,就嚐到了石花魚和天鵝的美味。今天不知道可以嚐到甚麼?」

他們倆一進大門,就聽說有人送了一隻大龜,鄭靈公正讓廚師烹調,等會兒要請大家吃。他們倆不覺相視而笑。鄭靈公知道了這件事,不以為然地說:「靈不靈,主權在我。」後來一碗一碗的龜羮端上來,分到宋的面前,剛好沒有了。鄭靈公得意地大笑說:「怎麼樣?」宋走到鄭靈公面前,從他碗裡拿了一塊肉放進口中說:「誰說不靈?」


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