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中国成语典故中英对照:乐极生悲

2006-06-29 11:37

  Extreme Joy Begets Sorrow

  Chunyu Kun lived in the state of Qi during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). He was wise, humorous and eloquent. He skillfully advised the king on many occasions and successfully went to many states as an envoy.

  In the year 349 BC, the State of Chu dispatched a large force to attack Qi. The king of Qi sent Chunyu Kun to the state of Zhao to ask for help, with a lot of valuable gifts. The king of Zhao accpeted the gifts gladly and sent a hundred thousand troops to help Qi. The king of Chu withdrew his army that very night as soon as he got the news.

  The king of Qi was released and pleased with Chunyu Kun. He set a banquet for celebration. During the meal, the king asked Chunyu Kun, "How much wine can you drink before you're drunk, Sir?" Knowing the king had a bad habit of drinking all night, Chunyu Kun decided to take this chance to admonish the king. So he replied, "I get drunk when I drink ten litres or hundred."

  Puzzled, the king asked, "Since you are drunk after ten litres, how can you finish another ninty litres?"

  Chunyu Kun then explained that he could drink different amounts of wine under different conditions. He said, "This occurs to me that when you drink to your limit, you get so drunk that you lose your sense; once joy reaches its height, then it's sorrow's turn. This is the rule for everything. Whatever you do, you are bound to end up in the opposite direction when you exceed the limits."

  Realizing Chunyu Kun was advising him, the king answered, "You are right. I will take your advice."

  From then on, the king of Qi gave up his bad habit of drinking and playing all night.

  乐极生悲

  战国时期(475-221 BC),齐国有个叫淳于髡的人。他幽默机智,能说会道,给齐威王出过许多好主意,并且成功出使了许多其他的国家。

  公元349年,楚国派出大批军队攻打齐国。齐威王叫淳于髡去赵国请求帮助。于是他带着许多贵重的礼品去了赵国。赵王见了礼物十分高兴,派了十万士兵去援助齐国。那天晚上,楚王得到这消息,马上撤回了自己的军队。

  齐威王松了一口气,十分满意淳于髡的表现,并决定设宴为他庆功。在宴会上,齐威王问淳于髡:"先生你喝多少酒会醉?" 淳于髡知道齐王有整晚饮酒的坏毛病,于是决定借这个机会劝诫他。他幽默地回答说:"我喝一升酒会喝醉,喝一百升酒也要喝醉。"

  齐威王听了很奇怪。他问:"你喝一升已经醉了,怎么还能喝一百升呢?"

  淳于髡就告诉齐王,在不同的情况下他的酒量会不一样。他说:"喝酒让我想到一句古话:喝醉了酒,人就没了理智,太开心了,会发生悲惨的事。所有的事情都是这个道理。不论你做什么,超过了限度,往往适得其反。"

  齐威王知道淳于髡在劝诫他,回答说:"你说得对,我会接受你的建议的。"从那以后,齐威王改掉了整晚饮酒作乐的坏习惯。

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