成語故事

Like Fire and Flowering Rush

In the years around 480 B.C., China was in the last phase of the Spring and Autumn Period. Fu Chai, King of the State of Wu, conquered the states of Yue, Lu and Chi one after another. Then Fu Chai, overweeningly ambitious, led his army marching into the Northwest in an attempt to conquer the State of Jin in one vigorous effort.

But just at that time, Gou Jian, king of the State of Yue, outflanked Fu Chai and attacked him in the rear. Gou Jian's army fought one battle after another and arrived in Gu Su, capital of the State of Wu, at last, and took away the big boats of the State of Wu. Gou Jin also sent his troops to occupy the Huai River immediately, thus cutting off Fu Chai's retreat

The shocking news reached Fu Chai, king of the State of Wu, like a head-on blow to him. So he called his civilian officials and military generals at once to find a way to deal with this serious situation. His civilian officials and military their troops now would mean defeat, and that they would be attacked by both the troops of the Jin army and the troops of the Yue army. But , if they could defeat the State of Jin, Fu Chai would become a powerful chief of the princes at that time, and it would not be too late for Fu Chai to settle with Gou Jian after that.

Having made this decision, they knew that a pressing matter of the moment was to conquer th State of Jin as quickly as possible. After considering over and over again, they decided to try to defeat the Jin army by a surprise move.

One day towards evening, the king of the State of Wu gave his orders. The officers and men of the whole army ate their fill, and the steeds were well fed with fodder. 30, 000 officers and men were chosen from the whole army to from three phalanxes, with 10, 000officers and men each. The solders in the middle phalanx wore white suits of armour, and carried white flags and white bows and arrows, and they were led by king of the State of Wu Fu Chai himself. The other two phalanxes were led by senior generals. The soldiers in the left phalanx wore red suits of armour, and carried red flags and red bows and arrows. The in dealing with the case, because the empress would certainly blame him and punish him. How could he solve the problem then? He turned the problem over and over in his mind, and finally thought out a "brilliant scheme".

Lai Junchen had a sumptuous feast prepared, and invited Zhou Xing to his home. The two of them urged each other to drink, and they talked while drinking. After the wine had gone round three times, I often come across prisoners who stubbournly refuse to admit they are guilty. I wonder if you have any effective measures. " Hearing this, Zhou Xing said, "Get a big vat, scorch it hot with charcoal fire all around, and then let the prisoner come into the vat. Will the prisoner fail to make a comfession of his crime?"Hearing this, LaiJunchen nodded his head in approval repeatedly. He then ordered his subordinates to bring a big vat , and had a charcoal fire lit all around it as Zhou Xing had said. He then turned to Zhou Xing and said, "Someone in the rebellion. The empress has ordered me to deal with the case severely. So I beg your pardon, but would you kindly step into the soldiers in the right phalanx wore black suits of armour, and carried black flags and black bows and arrows. The whole army set out at midnight, and arrived at dawn at a place within a LI's distance of the Jin army. When the day was beginning to break, the soldiers of the Wu army began to berat the drums heavily and their shoutings resounded like rolls of thunder.

Awakening from their dreams, the solders of the Jin army were almost stupefied by the imposing manner of the three phalanxes of the Wu army. The white phalanx was like a field covered with flowering rush, the red phalanx was like a burning fire, and the black phalanx was simply like a sea too deep to fathom.

This story comes from Comversations from the States. Later generations often use the set phrase "like fire and flowering rush"to refer to tremendous momentum.

如火如荼

春秋時代末期,吳國國王夫差連續征服了越國、魯國和齊國,雄心勃勃,又繼續向西北進軍,打算一鼓作氣征服晉國。

可正在這個時候,越王勾踐抄了吳王的後路。他帶領軍隊一直打到吳國的國都姑蘇(蘇州),又派人馬佔據淮河,把吳王的退路切斷了。

這消息給吳王夫差當頭潑了一盆冷水,他非常震驚,立即召集文臣武將商量對策。大家說,現在退回去等於兩關打了敗仗,還會兩頭挨打;如果能打敗晉國,就等於在諸侯國中當定了霸主,再回去收拾越王勾踐也不算晚。

大主意已經拿定,當務之急是盡快征服晉國。考慮再三,決定出奇制勝。

一天傍晚,吳王下達了命令。全軍將士吃得飽飽的,馬也喂足了草料。從全軍中挑出三萬精兵強將。每一萬人擺成一個方陣,共擺三個方陣。每個方陣橫豎都是一百人。每一行排頭的都是軍官司。每十行,也就是一千人,由一個大夫負責。每項一個方陣由一名將軍率領。中間的方陣白盔白甲,白衣服,白旗幟,白弓箭,由吳王自己掌握,稱為中軍;左邊的方陣,紅盔紅甲、紅衣服、紅簡直就像深不可測;右邊的方陣則一水兒黑色。半夜出發,黎明時分到達離晉軍僅有一里路的地方。天色剛剛顯出亮色,吳軍鼓聲大作,歡呼之聲震天動工地。

晉軍從夢中醒來,一看吳軍那三個方陣和聲威氣勢,簡直都驚呆了:那白色方陣,「望之如荼」——像開滿白花的茅草地;那紅色方陣,「望之如火」——如像熊熊燃燒的火焰;而那黑色的方陣,簡直就像深不可測的大海。

故事出自《國語·吳語》。成語「如火如荼」,形容某種人群或事物陣容之大,氣勢之盛。


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