Chinese Idiom Stories
Heard On The Street And Spoken of In The Road
Mau Kung, of the kingdom of Ch'i, loved to exaggerate. He once said to his friend Mr. Ai, "Some strange things have been happening around here recently. For instance, there's a duck that layed 100 eggs, all at once." "That's impossible," Mr. Ai replied. Mau Kung thought a minute and said, "Probably it was three ducks." Seeing that Mr. Ai still didn't believe him, he again changed his mind, saying, "Well, maybe it was ten ducks." He then continued, "Last month, a large piece of meat fell from the sky. It was thirty jang long and ten jang wide." Again, Mr. Ai did not believe him, and again Mau Kung tried to change his story to make it more believable. At this, Mr. Ai could stand no longer, and asked Mau Kung, "Who owns these ducks? And where did this piece of meat fall?" Mau Kung had no choice but to tell the truth, "I did not see it myself, I heard people talking about it in the street."
Thus, "Heard on the Street and Spoken of in the Road" refers to hearsay for which one has no proof.