成語故事

One Character is Worth a Thousand Taels of Gold

一字千金

Lu Bu-wei was the prime minister of the state of Ch'in during the Warring States Period. He was very powerful; even the emperor would do whatever he said.

Although Lu Bu-wei was a very capable politician, in the area of literature, he was not so talented. So he engaged over 3000 scholars in the task of writing a set of books for him, the content of which included astronomy, geography, the words and deeds of people of ancient times, etc. This set of books, called Lu-shr Chuen-chiou, was over 200,000 characters in length.

Lu Bu-wei was so pleased with these books that he had them put on the city gate of the Chi'in capital. He also put up an announcement, saying that if anyone could add or subtract one character from his books, that person would be given 1,000 taels of gold. Thus, Lu-shr Chuen-chiou became known throughout the land as the set of books in which "one character was worth 1000 taels of gold."

Today, this idiom is used to describe writings which are exceptionally well-written in terms of both content and style.

一字千金

戰國時代,秦國有個宰相名叫呂不韋,他聘請許多很有才華的學者,給他們很高的待遇,並且在家中供養他們,最多的時候曾多達三千多人。呂不韋請他們依自己的專長,編寫許多篇文章,同時更訂定體裁和主旨,然後他將這些作品集合成一部偉大的著作,名為《呂氏春秋》。這本書分為八覽、六論、十二紀,共二十六卷,總共有二十多萬字,內容十分豐富,包羅了天地萬物、上下古今的許多事情。

呂不韋非常得意,曾經把《呂氏春秋》這本書掛在咸陽城門口公開展覽,並且對天下人士聲稱,如果有誰能修改其中的任何一個字,他就賞給那個人千兩黃金。他還把千兩黃金放在書旁邊,表示他說話算話。但是,由於呂不韋是那時的宰相,有很高的權力,因此沒有人敢去更改。


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