Chinese Idiom:不寒而栗(bù hán ér lì)

During the Han dynasty (hàn cháo 汉朝, 206BC—220AD), there was a man whose name was Yi Zong (yìzòng 义纵). Because of the special Kindness of the mother of the emperor, Yi Zong was made a magistrate in one county.

After taking up the official post ,he did very well in managing the official business. He was courageous and resolute in handling cases, and punished according to law anybody who violated the law, no matter whether he was a despotic gentleman who was rich and powerful or was one of the common people.


When Yi Zong was transferred to be the prefect of the Nanyang Prefecture (nán yáng jùn 南阳郡), Ning Cheng (nìng chéng 宁成), a despotic landlord who stopped at nothing in doing evil, was living there, In order to ingratiate himself with Yi Zong, Ning Cheng pretended to be very modest and courteous every time he met Yi Zong and saw him off. But Yi Zong had heard of the evil conducts of Ning Cheng already and, soon after he took office in Nanyang,he made investigations. It did not take much time for him to find out Ning cheng’s crimes and had him put in prison.

Later, Emperor Wu Di (hàn wǔ dì 汉武帝) of the Han Dynasty appointed Yi Zong the prefect of the Dingxiang Prefecture (dìng xiāng 定襄). At that time, the public order in Dingxiang was very chaotic. When he took office there, there were 200 convicts in prison who had committed felonies had no implements of punishment on them.There were also more than 200 persons who offered bribes in order to absolve those serious offenders from guilt.Yi Zong treated the matter severely. He arrested all those bribers and punished the bribers and those serious offenders already in prison severely. More than 400 convicts were executed in a day. From that day on, whenever the name of Yi Zong was mentioned.people in Dingxiang would tremble with fear –they would shiver all over though not cold. This story appears in the "Lives of the Merciless Judges and Prison Wardens "in The Historical Records written by Sima Pian. The set phrase "shivering all over though not cold "is used to refer to the state of being extremely afraid.

汉武帝时,有一个人名叫义纵,因为受到太后的恩宠,做了上党郡某县令。上任以后,公务办得很出色,案子处理上敢作敢为,不论是有钱有势的豪绅,还是平民, 只要犯了法,义纵秉公审办,皇上很赞赏他,调他做河内郡都尉。一到任,他立即把祸害一方的豪门大族满门抄斩,一时间,河内郡的治安和社会风气大有好转,有人不慎把东西失落在道路上,也没有人抢走据为已有。



不寒而栗 (bù hán ér lì)
【翻译】Shivering All Over Though Not Cold.

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