成語故事

To Sleep On Brushwood And Taste Gall

臥薪嘗膽

During the Spring and Autumn Period, He Liu, the king of Wu, attacked the kingdom of Yue. During the battle, his right foot was cut off by the general of Yue, and he died. Fu Cha, the crown prince of Wu, took over the throne, and late led the Wu army back into Yue to retaliate. Fu Cha defeated Yue, captured their king, Gou Jian, and took him back to Wu, where he was forced to guard He Liu's tomb and care for the king's horses.

Although Gou Jian had been captured, he never forgot his great aspiration of rebuilding his country and avenging himself. During his time in captivity, he acted very faithful and obedient to Fu Cha, so that finally he earned Fu Cha's trust and was released.

After returning to Yue, Gou Jian slept every night on brushwood. And before eating or going to sleep, he would taste a bit of gall from the gallbladder of an animal which he always kept nearby. This was to remind himself of the imprisionment. After ten years of preparation, Gou Jian attacked and defeated Wu, rebuilt Yue, and made it one of the strongest and most prosperous kingdom of the time.

Today, "To Sleep On Brushwood and Taste Gall" means to take whatever measures are necessary to achieve one's goal - usually indicating hard work and self-denial.

臥薪嘗膽

春秋時期,吳王夫差憑著自己國力強大,領兵攻打越國。結果越國戰敗,越王勾踐於是被抓到吳國。吳王為了羞辱越王,因此派他看墓與餵馬這些奴僕才做的工作。越王心裡雖然很不服氣,但仍然極力裝出忠心順從的樣子。吳王出門時,他走在前面牽著馬;吳王生病時,他在床前盡力照顧,吳王看他這樣盡心伺候自己,覺得他對自己非常忠心,最後就允許他返回越國。

越王回國後,決心洗刷自己在吳國當囚徒的恥辱。為了告誡自己不要忘記復仇雪恨,他每天睡在堅硬的木柴上,還在門上吊一顆苦膽,吃飯和睡覺前都要品嚐一下,為的就是要讓自己記住教訓。除此之外,他還經常到民間視察民情,替百姓解決問題,讓人民安居樂業,同時加強軍隊的訓練。

經過十年的艱苦奮鬥,越國變得國富兵強,於是越王親自率領軍隊進攻吳國,也成功取得勝利,吳王夫差羞愧得在戰敗後自殺。後來,越國又趁勝進軍中原,成為春秋末期的一大強國。


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