成語故事

The Hounds Are Killed For Food Once All The Hares Are Bagged

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), there were two famous senior officials in the State of Yue. The King of the Yue named Gou Jian didn't accept the advice of Fan Li and blindly launched an attack against the neighboring State of Wu. As a result, he suffered disastrous defeat and was caught by the King of Wu. The King of Wu took him back and had him as a slave. Fan Li persuaded him to endure humiliation, pretend to surrender and wait for an opportunity to avenge. Later, Wen Zhong went to the State of Wu on diplomatic missions and helped Gou Jian gain the confidence. Years later, Gou was set free. With the help of Fan and Wen, the State of Yue rapidly rehabilitated and later annexed the Wu.

As they had done so much contribution, both Fan and Wen was awarded great riches. Gou Jian even offered half of the state to Fan. But Fan rejected and decided to live in seclusion for knowing Gou too well. As a hermit, Fan wrote to his friend Wen. In his letter, Fan said, "When all the flying birds have been shot down, the good bow is put away; when all the hares have been bagged, the hounds are killed for food. I suggest you withdraw in order to avoid disaster." Wen took his advice and pretended to be ill and stopped attending imperial court meetings. But it was too late. Gou Jian believed the slanderous gossips about Wen and ordered Wen to kill himself.

Later, people use it to mean trusted aides are eliminated when they have outlived their usefulness."

兔死狗烹

范蠡和文仲是春秋時期越國的兩個大官。越王勾踐不聽范蠡勸告,盲目進攻鄰國吳國,結果被吳國打敗,他自己也被吳王抓去作苦力。范蠡說服勾踐忍受恥辱,假裝服從,等待機會再報仇。文仲也多次到吳國拜訪,並且幫助勾踐恢復信心。幾年以後,吳王把勾踐放回越國。在范蠡和文仲的相助下,越國很快就恢復了以前的強大,最後把吳國給消滅了。

因為范蠡和文仲為越國作出了巨大的貢獻,越王就賞給他們很多財寶,還把國土的一半分給范蠡。但范蠡很瞭解勾踐這個人,所以他決定謝絕了這些賞賜,找個地方隱居起來。他還寫信給文仲告訴他:當天上的鳥兒被射完了,弓箭也就沒用了。當所有的兔子被抓完了,獵狗也將被殺了吃掉。我勸你還是早點離開勾踐,免得惹來災難。文仲看完信後,接受了范蠡的勸告,他假裝生病,不再參加朝中會議。但太遲了,勾踐聽信了別人對他的謠言,逼他自殺了。

後來,人們用「兔死狗烹」來比喻事情成功以後,把出過大力的人殺掉。


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