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Say It Right Series

Chinese Idioms - 狐假虎威

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

Tags: idiom, tiger, fox, general, kind, power, fear, terror, forest

The fox borrows the tiger's ferocity (狐假虎威 hu jia hu wei)


There once was a king called Chu Xuan Wang. He found that many people were afraid of one of his generals, and thought this was rather strange. He asked his prime minister for his opinion on the matter. The prime minister answered by telling this story:

"Long ago, a tiger lived in a cave. One day, he was very hungry, so he walked out of the cave and wandered through the forest looking for food. As he was walking, he suddenly came across a fox. He crept slowly toward the fox and pounced, trapping the fox. The tiger thought to himself, "Now I will have a delicious lunch." But when he opened his mouth and was about to devour the fox, the cunning fox said, "Tiger, you shouldn't eat me." The tiger asked, "Why?" The fox replied, "I was sent by God to be the king of the whole forest. If you eat me, God will punish you." The tiger was puzzled: "You are the king of the forest? I don't believe you. Unless you can prove that you are, I will eat you." The fox said, "Then follow me through the forest to see whether the animals are afraid of me or not."

The tiger thought this was a good way to prove whether what the fox said was true, so he followed the fox deep into the forest. They had not gone very far before they came upon some small animals fighting over food. But when the animals saw the tiger behind the fox, they quickly fled in all directions.

"The fox looked triumphantly at the tiger and said: "Now you see how all the animals in the forest fear me?"

Now the tiger really believed that the fox was the most fearsome animal in the forest.

But the tiger didn't realize that the animals were really afraid of the tiger himself.

The fox's plot was successful as he used the tiger's powerful presence to strike fear into the animals. The clever fox took advantage of the temporary presence of the tiger to threaten the other animals. The poor tiger was fooled, but he never realized it!

This story shows that although people are afraid of the general, the king is the one who controls the army. The people seem to fear the military powers, but in fact, they are afraid of the king himself.

This fable is about depending on other people's power to oppress others.

有一位国王叫楚宣王(xuān wáng),他发现很多人都很害怕他手下的一个大将军,他感到很奇怪.于是他就问他的大臣这是为什么,大臣向他讲了下面的这个故事:

从前,有一只老虎住在山洞(shān dòng)里.有一天,他感到很饿,所以就走出山洞,在森林里到处找食物吃.走着走着,他突然发现了一只狐狸(hú li),它向狐狸猛扑过去,一把抓住了狐狸.心想,这下我可有一顿美味的午餐了.可是当他张开嘴巴,正要把那只狐狸吞进(tūn jìn)肚子里的时候,狡猾的狐狸连忙说:"老虎,你不能吃我."老虎问到:"为什么?"狐狸说:"我是天帝派到林中来做百兽之王(bǎi shòu zhī wáng)的,你如果吃了我,天帝是会惩罚(chéng fá)你的."老虎觉得很奇怪,说,"你是百兽之王?我不相信,除非你能证明给我看.否则(fǒu zé),我就吃掉你."狐狸说:"那你跟在我后面在森林里走一走,看看动物们是不是都害怕我."

老虎想这倒也是个办法,于是就让狐狸在前面带路,自己在后面跟着,向森林的深处走去.他们没走多久,就看到很多小动物在争抢(zhēng qiǎng)食物吃,但是当他们一看到走在狐狸后面的老虎时,吓得纷纷(fēn fēn)逃跑(táo pǎo).

狐狸得意(dé yì)地回过头来对老虎说:"现在你该看到了吧?森林里的动物,谁敢不怕我?"

这下老虎真的相信,狐狸才是森林里最厉害的动物,于是他把狐狸放走了.

但是老虎并不知道,其实动物们害怕的是他自己.

狐狸之计得逞(dé chěng)了,可是他的威势完全是假借(jiǎ jiè)老虎,才能凭(píng)着一时有利的形势去威胁(wēi xié)群兽,而那可怜的老虎被人愚弄(yú nòng)了,自己还不知道呢!

这个故事说明,人们害怕大将军,完全是因为大王的兵权掌握在他手里,也就是说,他们畏惧的其实是大王的权势.

这个成语比喻倚仗(yǐ zhàng)别人的势力来欺压(qī yā)人.

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