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中国成语典故中英对照:兔死狗烹

2006-06-29 12:00

  The hounds are killed for food once all the hares are bagged

  During the Spring and Autumn Period(770-476BC), there were two famous senior officials in the State of Yue. The King of the Yue named Gou Jian didn't accept the advice of Fan Li and blindly launched an attack against the neighboring State of Wu. As a result, he suffered disastrous defeat and was caught by the King of Wu. The King of Wu took him back and had him as a slave. Fan Li persuaded him to endure humiliation, pretend to surrender and wait for an opportunity to avenge. Later, Wen Zhong went to the State of Wu on diplomatic missions and helped Gou Jian gain the confidence. Years later, Gou was set free. With the help of Fan and Wen, the State of Yue rapidly rehabilitated and later annexed the Wu.

  As they had done so much contribution, both Fan and Wen was awarded great riches. Gou Jian even offered half of the state to Fan. But Fan rejected and decided to live in seclusion for knowing Gou too well. As a hermit, Fan wrote to his friend Wen. In his letter, Fan said, "When all the flying birds have been shot down, the good bow is put away; when all the hares have been bagged, the hounds are killed for food. I suggest you withdraw in order to avoid disaster." Wen took his advice and pretended to be ill and stopped attending imperial court meetings. But it was too late. Gou Jian believed the slanderous gossips about Wen and ordered Wen to kill himself.Later, people use it to mean trusted aides are eliminated when they have outlived their usefulness."

  兔死狗烹

  范蠡和文仲是春秋时期越国的两个大官。越王勾践不听范蠡劝告,盲目进攻邻国吴国,结果被吴国打败,他自己也被吴王抓去作苦力。范蠡说服勾践忍受耻辱,假装服从,等待机会再报仇。文仲也多次到吴国拜访,并且帮助勾践恢复信心。几年以后,吴王把勾践放回越国。在范蠡和文仲的相助下,越国很快就恢复了以前的强大,最后把吴国给消灭了。

  因为范蠡和文仲为越国作出了巨大的贡献,越王就赏给他们很多财宝,还把国土的一半分给范蠡。但范蠡很了解勾践这个人,所以他决定谢绝了这些赏赐,找个地方隐居起来。他还写信给文仲告诉他:当天上的鸟儿被射完了,弓箭也就没用了。当所有的兔子被抓完了,猎狗也将被杀了吃掉。我劝你还是早点离开勾践,免得惹来灾难。文仲看完信后,接受了范蠡的劝告,他假装生病,不再参加朝中会议。但太迟了,勾践听信了别人对他的谣言,逼他自杀了。

  后来,人们用"兔死狗烹"来比喻事情成功以后,把出过大力的人杀掉。

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