Chinese Idiom Stories

The King's Seabird

A seabird was once seen perching on the city gate of the capital of Lu. Nobody had seen such a bird before, so they called it the "holy bird." The King of Lu ordered his men to capture the seabird alive. They kept it in a golden cage and brought it to the Imperial Ancestral Temple.

The King treated the seabird as though it were his guest of honour. Each day there would be banquets where dainties and delicacies of every kind would be offered to the seabird. Even the King's musicians had to perform for the seabird's sole amusement.

But the seabird was terrified by all this grandness. It became so frightened and sad that it dared not eat or drink. After three days, it died. The King thought that he had been a good host to his guest. Why not? He was treating the seabird the same way he treated himself.


從前有隻海鳥,在魯國城門上棲息。 因為從來沒有人見過這種鳥,所以人們都叫牠做「神鳥」。

魯侯命侍從活捉海鳥。 侍從將海鳥關在金籠內,並放在太廟裏供養。 魯侯視海鳥如國賓。 每天都有各式各樣的珍饈百味供海品嘗,就魯侯的樂師,也要為海鳥演奏。

可是,海鳥卻被這些豪華排場所嚇倒,心裏既驚慌又悲痛,不敢飲食,過了三天,終於死去。魯侯以為他款待海鳥,已十分周到。 可不是嗎?他是用養自己的方法去養海鳥的。

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