Chinese Idiom Stories

To Repair The Fence After Losing The Sheep

King Shiang, ruler of the Kingdom of Ch'u during the Warring States Period, was concerned only with enjoying himself, and paid no attention to the affairs of the state. His minister, Juang Shin, was very worried, and said to him, "His Majesty has four officials who are constantly at his side, keeping him comfortable and amused. If things continue in this way, I fear for Ch'u's future." King Shiang grew very angry and rebuked Juang Shin. And the minister, seeing he could not get through to the king, requested permission to go to the kingdom of Chao.

Less than six months later, the kingdom of Ch'in captured several Ch'u cities, and King Shiang fled to Chengyang. When he thought of Juang Shin, he was overcome with regret, and immediately sent someone to go find him. Juang Shin urged the king not to worry, saying "Even after you've lost the sheep, it's still not too late to repair the fence!" So the king put all of his effort into helping his state, and with Juang Shin's guidance, Ch'u survived.

Thus, "To Repair the Fence After Losing the Sheep" is to repair a flaw or correct a shortcoming, so that one will not make the same mistake twice.






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