food handed out in contempt
One year during the Spring and Autumn Period(春秋时期,770-476 BC), there was
a the Qi State (齐国) was severely strickend by a famine.
Qian Ao (qián ào 黔敖), a very rich but arrogant man took the occasion to showcase his generosity through preparing food by the roadside and giving it to the passing refugees in charity.
A man with shabby clothes happened to walk by with his shoes trailing along, he was so hungry
as not to open his eyes.
Seeing the poor man, Qian Ao held the food by left hand and the drink by right hand, and
shouted at him,"Hi, come to eat !”
Hearing the word, the man glared his eyes and said, “It is because I am not willing
to eat the food handed out in contempt that I have been famished to such a degree. "
Though Qian Ao made an apology to him for that, the man still resolutely refused to
eat the food and thus he died of hunger in the end.
This set phrase now extensively denotes the disrespectful aims. This story means
that a person who has a strong sense of self-respect would rather die of hunger
than be despised.
Once a man planned to build a terrace.
He worked very hard and spent a lot of time digging and carrying earth.
When the mound was almost completed and only one more basket of earth was needed,
the man gave up.
The terrace was never completed.
This idiom means to fail to succeed for lack of final effort.
The well of inspiration has dried up.
Creative well has dried up.
Jiang Yan lived during the Liang dynasty of the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period,
in the area now known as Henan province.
Although he came from a poor family, he as extremely hard working, and so became a
high-level civil official.
Jiang Yan was very talented in the area of literature. Both his poems and his essays were
outstanding, and he was known by nearly all the scholars of his time.
Jiang Yan once had a dream that a man came to him and said, "My name is Guo Pu. One of
my pens has been here with your for several years. Please give it back to me now."
In his pocket, Jiang Yan found a multi-colored pen, which he returned to Guo Po.
As Jiang Yan grew older,the poems and essays that he wrote were not as good as those he had
written when he was younger.
Everyone said that when Jiang Yan gave away his multi-colored pen,
he used up the last of his talent.
show off before an expert/teach a fish how to swim
Lu Ban (鲁班) was supposed to be a consummate carpenter in ancient times.
It is said that he once carved a wooden phoenix that was so lifelike that it actually flew in the sky for three days.
Thus it was considered the height of folly to show off one's skill with an axe in front of Lu Ban.