Chinese Idiom Stories

To Be As If Sitting On a Bed of Needles

During the Chin dynasty there lived a man named Du Shi, who from his youth was hard working and intelligent. As an adult, he was very knowledgeable and capable, and so he went to work in the palace.

Min Huai, the crown prince of the time, did not strive for progress. He had an irritable disposition, and often did irrational things. Du Shi was by his side everyday, criticizing his ways, saying that he was irrational and knew nothing. This made Min Huai very unhappy, as he felt that this was none of Du Shi's business. So one day, he sent someone to fill the cushion that Du Shi usually sat on full of needles. When Du Shi sat down, he was stuck so badly that he began to bleed. Several days later, the crown prince asked him, "So, what have you been doing these past few days?" Du Shi answered, "I've been drunk, and don't remember a thing." How come you also do wrong things?" Du Shi had no reply, and yet he couldn't leave. He did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

Today, a person who finds himself in a difficult situation can be said to be "as if sitting on a bed of needles."


西晉時候有個叫杜錫的人,學識淵博,性格非常耿直,在做了太子中捨人以後,多次規勸晉惠帝的兒子愍懷太子。愍懷太子不僅不聽勸告,反而對杜錫心懷怨恨,便故意在杜錫坐的氈墊中放了一些針。杜錫沒有發覺,屁股被扎得鮮血直流。第二天,太子故意問杜錫: 「你昨天出了甚麼事?」杜錫難以開口,只好說:「昨天喝醉了,不知道干了些甚麼。」太子說:「你喜歡責備別人,為甚麼自己也做錯了事呢?」杜錫不敢回答,又不能走,哭笑不得。

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