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Da Cao Jing She

 

打草惊蛇 (dǎ cǎo jīng shé)

Da Cao Jing She

 

In ancient times there was a county magistrate who took bribes and practised graft. One day, somebody sent him a petition accusing his secretary of practising graft and taking bribes. The magistrate trembles when he read the petition. He wrote on it: “You have beaten the grass and frightened a snake.”

This idiom refers to alerting the target of one’s scheme by being incautious.

 

唐朝的时候,有一个名叫王鲁的人,他在衙门做官的时候,常常接受贿赂、不遵守法规。有一天,有人递了一张状纸到衙门,控告王鲁的部下违法、接受贿赂。王鲁一看,状纸上所写的各种罪状,和他自己平日的违法行为一模一样。王鲁一边看着状纸,一边发着抖:“这…这不是在说我吗?”王鲁愈看愈害怕,都忘状纸要怎么批,居然在状纸上写下了八个大字:“汝虽打草,吾已蛇惊。”意思就是说你这样做,目的是为了打地上的草,但我就像是躲在草里面的蛇一样,可是被大大的吓了一跳了! 后来,大家就根据王鲁所写的八个字“汝虽打草,吾已蛇惊”,引伸为“打草惊蛇”这句成语。