Chinese Idiom Stories

To Bend The Chimney and Move The Firewood

There once lived a family whose chimney was straight up and down, and who kept a pile of firewood next to their stove. One day, a passerby noticed this, and immediately ran in and suggested to the family that they curve their chimney and move their woodpile. Otherwise, he said, the wood could easily catch fire. The owner of the house did not agree and therefore did not take the man's advice.

Not long afterwards, the family's woodpile really did catch fire. Fortunately, their neighbors all came to help, and before long they had put the fire out. In order to express his gratitude, the owner of the hose invited all of his neighbors over for a large feast. One of the guests asked him why he hadn't invited the man who had suggested curving the chimney and moving the firewood, reminding him that if he had taken this man's advice in the first place, there would've been no fire. The owner agreed, and immediately invited this man to join the feast.

Today, taking measures to prevent disaster can be referred to as "bending the chimney and moving the firewood."







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