成語故事

To Strive For Words and Struggle for Reason

During the Warring States Period, there lived in the kingdom of Sung a man named Gau Yang-ying. Gau Yang-ying loved to debate, and would find a way to quibble about even the most insignificant topics.

One day, Gau Yang-ying decided to build a house. A very experienced carpenter advised him against beginning work on it just then, saying that the wood was still wet, and therefore would be likely to crack, and later, to fall.

But Gau Yang-ying disagreed, saying, "In my experience, a house built with wet wood will not only not fall, but will be especially strong. Right now the wood is wet, but if we add a roof on top, it will hold just the same. After a while, the pressure of the bricks will decrease, and the wood will also be dry, so shouldn't the house be even stronger?"

The carpenter had no answer for this, and so had no choice but to begin work on the house. And not long after it was finished, as the carpenter had predicted, the house fell to the ground.

Thus, we can sau that a person who, like Gau Yang-ying insists on quibbling over unreasonable or insignificant things, is "striving for words and struggling for reason."

強詞奪理

戰國時候,宋國有一個叫高陽應的人,很喜歡和人辯論,明明沒理的事情,他一定硬編出理由來強辯。

有一次,高陽應要蓋一棟房子,有一個有經驗的木匠對他說:「我勸你現在不要動工,因為木頭沒乾,如果用濕木頭做柱子,等乾了就會出現裂縫,木頭如果出現裂縫,就支持不住了,將來房子可能會倒,還是等木材乾了再動工吧!」

高陽應聽了,說:「我的經驗用濕木材做柱子,房子不但不會倒,反而更結實。現在木頭還濕,加上屋頂,還能支得住,過些時候,磚瓦的壓力減少了,木頭也乾了,不是更支持得住了嗎?怎麼會倒呢?」

木匠被他這麼一辯,無話可說,只好照他的意思開始動工。房子蓋好沒有多久,果然倒了。


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