Chinese Idiom Stories
The Debt Platform is Built Up High
When the Warring States Period began, it was already nearing the end of the Chou dynasty. Although Chou King Nan was the ruler, he had very little real power. The Seven Great States into which China was divided were all very powerful; especially the kingdom of Ch'in, which planned to swallow up the other six and become ruler of all China.
One day, the king of Ch'u heard that the kingdom of Wei had defeated Ch'in in battle. Seeing this as their big chance, he went and suggested to King Nan that everyone cooperate to destroy Ch'in together. Knowing about Ch'in's plann to invade the Chou court, King Nan readily agreed. Realizing that the court did not have enough money to pay for the horses and weapons his troops would need, King Nan borrowed money from the rich people of his kingdom, promising to pay them back with interest after they had won the war.
As it turned out, however, Ch'u and Yan were the only two kingdoms to send out troops. The war was never fought, but the money had been completely spent. The creditors gathered at the palace gates every day to demand their money, and King Nan was forced to hide up atop his high platform.
Thus, when a person, like King Nan, owes so much money that it is impossible for him to pay it all back, we can say that "The Debt Platform Is Built Up High."