Like Fire and Flowering Rush (如火如荼 ru huo ru tu)
如火如荼 Like Fire and Flowering Rush
In the years around 480 B.C.,China was in the last phase of the Spring and Autumn Period. Fu Chai,King of the State of Wu, conquered the states of Yue,Lu and Chi one after another. Then Fu Chai, overwellingly ambitious,led his army marching into the Northwest in an attempt to conquer the State of Jin in one vigorous effort.
But just at that time, Gou Jian, king of the State of Yue, outflanked Fu Chai and attacked him in the rear. Gou Jian's army fought one battle after another and arrived in Gu Su, capital of the State of Wu, at last, and took away the big boats of the State of Wu. Gou Jin also sent his troops to occupy the Huai River immediately, thus cutting off Fu Chai's retreat
The shocking news reached Fu Chai, king of the State of Wu, like a head-on blow to him. So he called his civilian officials and military generals at once to find a way to deal with this serious situation. His civilian officials and military their troops now would mean defeat, and that they would be attacked by both the troops of the Jin army and the troops of the Yue army. But ,if they could defeat the State of Jin, Fu Chai would become a powerful chief of the princes at that time,and it would not be too late for Fu Chai to settle with Gou Jian after that.
Having made this decision, they knew that a pressing matter of the moment was to conquer th State of Jin as quickly as possible. After considering over and over again,they decided to try to defeat the Jin army by a surprise move.
One day towards evening, the king of the State of Wu gave his orders. The officers and men of the whole army ate their fill, and the steeds were well fed with fodder. 30,000 officers and men were chosen from the whole army to from three phalanxes, with 10,000 officers and men each. The solders in the middle phalanx wore white suits of armour,and carried white flags and white bows and arrows, and they were led by king of the State of Wu Fu Chai himself. The other two phalanxes were led by senior generals. The soldiers in the left phalanx wore red suits of armour, and carried red flags and red bows and arrows. The the soldiers in the right phalanx wore black suits of armour,and carried black flags and black bows and arrows.
The whole army set out at midnight,and arrived at dawn at a place within a LI's distance of the Jin army. When the day was beginning to break,the soldiers of the Wu army began to beat the drums heavily and their shoutings resounded like rolls of thunder.
Awakening from their dreams,the solders of the Jin army were almost stupefied by the imposing manner of the three phalanxes of the Wu army. The white phalanx was like a field covered with flowering rush,the red phalanx was like a burning fire,and the black phalanx was simply like a sea too deep to fathom.
This story comes from Comversations from the States. Later generations often use the set phrase "like fire and flowering rush"to refer to tremendous momentum.
ru2 huo3 ru2 tu2
如 火 如 荼
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