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Chinese Idioms - 一箭双雕

Posted by vann0000 February 9, 2009 in the Group General Discussion .

Tags: idiom, vulture, two, arrow, kill, benefit

Killing two vultures with one arrow (一箭双雕 yi jian shuang diao)

During the Nanbei Period (420-589) in the Bei Zhou Kingdom, there was a very brave and intelligent man named Gong Sun Sheng.  He was extremely skilled as an archer.  No one could beat him in an archery competition.

The king of Bei Zhou decided to offer his daughter as a bride for the king of Mongolia in order to establish ties with the Mongolian people.

To ensure that his daughter was safe, he sent some soldiers to escort her to Mongolia.

After the long, hard journey, they finally arrived in Mongolia. The king of Mongolia ordered his chefs to prepare a feast for his visitors.  The hungry travelers all ate, drank, and talked with the Mongolians.

After they had all drunk some wine, there was an archery competition, as was the custom in that land.  So the king asked that a bow and arrow be brought.  He asked that the competitors attempt to shoot the centre of a copper coin on a target about 25 meters away. (Ancient Chinese coins were round with a square hole punched in the middle of them).  Gong Sun Sheng flexed his bow in the shape of a moon, pulled back the arrow and let it fly toward the target.  It hit the exact center of the coin.  "Very good!" everyone cheered together.

From then on Gong Sun Sheng was very well respected, and the king invited him to stay in Mongolia for one year.  The king often asked Gong Sun Sheng to accompany him on hunting trips.  Once when they were hunting, the Mongolian king looked up and saw two large vultures fighting over a piece of meat.  He immediately gave Gong Sun Sheng two arrows, saying: "Can you shoot both of those vultures?"

"One arrow is enough!" Gong Sun Sheng replied.

He carefully put his arrow on the bow and slowly pulled back the bow string and took aim at the two birds.  The arrow whizzed toward the fighting birds, went through both of their bodies like a skewer, and they fell to the ground.

From this story comes the idiom "kill two vultures with one arrow."  Other idioms similar to this are "kill two birds with one stone" or "one deed produces two benefits."

在南北朝时期(420-589),北周有一个又聪明又勇敢的人叫公孙晟(gōng sūn shèng).他的射箭(shè jiàn)技术非常高超,没有人能比得过他.

北周的国王为了向突厥(tū jué)人(现在的蒙古族人)表示友好,决定把一位公主嫁给突厥的国王.为了安全起见,派公孙晟带领一些士兵护送公主去突厥.他们经过艰苦的长途旅行,终于到了突厥.突厥王命令厨师做了好多道菜来欢迎他们,他们边吃边喝边谈话.喝了一些酒后,按照当地的习惯,要进行射箭比赛.因此,突厥王让人拿来一套弓箭,要公孙晟射一百步以外的一枚铜钱(中国古代钱币,圆形,中间有一个方孔).公孙晟接过弓箭(gōng jiàn),使劲一拉,弓被拉成弯弯的月亮的形状,一枝利箭"嗖"地一声射进了铜钱的小方孔."好!"大家齐声喝彩.

从此突厥王非常尊敬公孙晟,请他在北方的突厥住了一年,并经常让他陪着自己一块儿去打猎(dǎ liè).有一次,他俩正在打猎,突厥王抬头一看,见天空中有两只大雕正在争夺(zhēng duó)一块肉.他立即递(dì)给公孙晟两枝箭说:"你能把这两只雕都射下来吗?"一枝箭就够了!"公孙晟边说边接过箭.他把箭搭在弓上,不慌不忙地拉开弓,对准那两只正在争夺一块肉的大雕,只听"嗖"的一声,两只大雕便被这一支箭同时射中并串(chuàn)在一起掉落下了.

这个成语比喻做一件事得到两方面的好处.近义词有一石二鸟(yī shí èr niǎo)和一举两得(yī jǔ liǎng dé).


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