成語故事

To Watch The Dust Settle And Be Unable To Catch Up

During the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period, there lived a very capable man named Wu Ching-jr, who worked as a secretary for the government official Wang Yi-gung. When Wang Yi-gung was executed by the emperor for a mistake that he had made, Wu Ching-jr blamed himself, and resolved that he would never again work for the government.

Because Wu Ching-jr was so talented, the next person to fill Wang Yi-gung's position, a man named Wang Kung, also asked for his help. But Wu Ching-jr refused, saying, "I really don't understand anything; Wang Yi-gung only asked for my help because he liked me. If anyone else were to hire me, it would be like raising a fish in a tree, or putting a bird in water." And with this, he turned and rode away on his horse. Wang Kung raced after him, but saw only the dust stirred up by his horse galloping on ahead. No matter how fast his horse ran, Wang Kung could not catch up.

Today, "to watch the dust settle and be unable to catch up" means to be too far behind another person to be able to catch up, or too inferior to bear comparison.

望塵莫及

南北朝﹝西元四二零至五八一年﹞的時候,有一個人叫吳慶之,他是一個很能幹的人。那個時候揚州太守名叫王義恭,請他做好像現在秘書的工作。後來王義恭犯錯被皇帝殺了,他覺得自己沒盡到責任,從此再也不肯出來做官了。

因為他很有才幹,下一位太守王琨也邀請吳慶之幫忙。可是無論怎麼說,他都不肯答應,並且故意對人家說:「我本來甚麼都不懂,只因為前任太守看得起我,所以我才為他做事。假如有人再要我出來做事,簡直是把魚養在樹上,把鳥放在水裡。」說完,轉身上馬就走。王琨連忙追趕,只見前面揚起的灰塵,怎麼也追趕不上了。


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