成語故事

To Proffer a Birch and Ask For a Flogging

負荊請罪

Because Lin Shiang-ru returned the jade intact to Chao, the king of Chao made him an official of the very highest rank. General Lian Po had greatly served his country in battle, and believed it was unjust that Lin Shiang-ru should have a higher rank than his own. So the general told his troops that he was going to put Lin Shiang-ru to shame if he ever met up with him. After Lin Shiang-ru heard about this, he went out of his way to avoid Lian Po at all costs. Lin Shiang-ru's subordinates felt that he was being very cowardly, and thereafter wanted nothing to do with him. But Lin Shiang-ru said to them, "I'm not even afraid of the king of Ch'in, so why should I be afraid of General Lian Po? It's because of the two of us that Ch'in does not invade Chao. If we were to disagree, it would be just like two tigers fighting; in the end, one of us would be killed, and then Ch'in would attack." When Lian Po heard about this, he was so ashamed that he took off his shirt, and with a birch branch in hand, asked Lin Shiang-ru to flog and forgive him.

Today, this idiom can be used to describe any situation in which a person knows he has done wrong, and asks the person whom he has wronged to punish him.

負荊請罪

戰國時趙國的藺相如因為有功被趙王封為上卿,官職比老將廉頗還要大。廉頗很不服氣,就想給藺相如難堪。藺相如卻盡量避開廉頗,別人都以為他怕廉頗,可是藺相如卻說他連秦王都不怕,又怎會怕廉將軍!不過是因為他和廉頗都是趙國的棟樑。如果他們成了仇人的話,趙國就危險了。這話傳到廉頗耳裡,非常慚愧,他便袒露上身,背著荊條,親自到藺相如家去認錯,兩人於是成為生死之交。


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