Chinese Idiom:枯鱼之肆 (kū yú zhī sì)

During the Warring States Period (zhàn guó 战国), Juang-tz’s family was very poor. When they had nothing left to eat, Juang-tz went to borrow some money from a local official. However, the official told Juang-tz that he would not be able to lend him any money until after he had collected the rent.

Juang-tz was very angry, and he said to the official, "Yesterday I saw a crucian carp in a ditch that had dried up.He looked as if he was about to die, and asked me to quickly fetch a bucket of water to save his life. I told him that I was on my way south, wher there is a lot of water, and that I would certainly bring some back for him. But the carp grew very angry and said,

"By the time you’ve gotten back with that water, I won’t be here anymore! You’ll have to go look for me at a dried fish store!"

This idiom is used to mean that a promise of help later is of no use in an immediate crisis.


庄子很气忿,就对蓝河侯说:“昨天我在路旁的干水沟里看见一条鲫鱼,他说是从东海来的,今天不幸掉在干水沟里,眼看就要干死了,快点儿给扦一桶水救救 他。”我点头说:“好,我正要到南方去,那里到处都有水,我一定把西江的水放出来救你。”不料鲫鱼很气忿地说:“等到你把西江的水放出来,那时候我早已不 在这儿了,你只能到咸鱼滩儿上找我了。”

枯鱼之肆 (kū yú zhī sì)
【翻译】The desperate struggle of fish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *