Chinese Idiom Stories

To Be Able To Catch Sparrows On the Doorstep

Duke Jai was a Han dynasty government official. Because he held a very high-ranking and pwerful position, many of his friends, relatives, and even acquaintances whom he barely knew often went to call on him. So all day long, horses and chariots were lined up in front of his house; it was really as if "the courtyard was as crowded as a marketplace."

Later, however, Duke Jai had the sad misfortune of being removed from office. His friends and relatives slowly stopped going to see him, and soon the only ones left in front of his house were flock of sparrows which would fly about and stop to rest on his doorstep. If he had net, Duke Jai certainly could have caught quite a few birds.

Not long afterwards, Duke Jai was reinstated. As soon as his friends and relatives heard the news, they all once again began to ride their horses or drive their chariots back to visit him. Duke Jai, however, was now unwilling to see them, and door reproving those who would only associate with people of wealth and status. Today, we can use this idiiom to describe any place which has been deserted, or where people are few.




不久,皇帝又下詔請他回去做官。 過去常來的客人又紛紛來拜訪他了。

汲黯經過一場貧賤富貴的交替,看清了世態的炎涼。 於是他在大門上貼上一張紙條。那班客人望著門上的字,只好腆著臉,悻悻地走了。


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