Chinese Idiom Stories

To Speak Like a Flowing River


During the Chin dynasty, there lived a man named Guo Shiang, who loved to read. When he was young, he spent much time pondering various aspects of daily life. As an adult, he loved to read books on Chinese philosophy, and so he became the most knowledgeable person of his time. Many people asked him to work for the government, but he very politely replied that he liked to do research, discuss current affairs, and analyze philosophical theories, and was unwilling to do anything else.

Guo Shiang was knowledgeable, eloquent, and loved to state his views. Wang Yan, the prime minister of the time, used to praise him saying, "Guo Shiang's speech is just like a river flowing down a mountain; it will never, ever dry up." People of later generations expanded this statement of Wang Yan into an idiom; a person who is very eloquent is now said to "Speak Like a Flowing River."




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