Long long ago,a county magistrate named Wang Lu worked in present Anhui Province,east China.Wang Lu was very greedy and took many bribes.One of his secretaries was equally corrupt,and often schemed for Wang Lu’s deeds.One day a man went to the magistrate to lodge a complaint against the secretary.The secretary’s crimes were almost the same as the crimes the magistrate himself committed.Wang Lu was so frightened that he forgot his proper role in handling the case.Instead of issuing a judgment,he couldn’t help writing these words concerning the complaint:“By stirring the grass,you have startled me who am like a snake under the grass!”
Once in the Three Kingdoms Period(220-280),the duke of the Wei,Cao Rui,planned to select a very capable man to work for him.
He said to his ministers:“When choosing a talented person,always beware of the one with a false reputation.A false reputation is just like a picture of a pancake;it can’t ease hunger.”
Later,this idiom came to be used to mean comforting oneself with unrealistic thoughts,without solving practical problems.
A thief wanted to steal the Fan family’s very valuable and large bell,so he decided to smash it so that he could carry it home.
But when he hit it,the loud clang surprised him and he covered his ears,thereby muffling the sound.
He decided to use cloth to plug his ears,foolishly thinking it quieted the bell so that he could hit it repeatedly.Neighbors soon heard the sound and caught the thief in the act.
Thus,the moral of the story is that the sound of the bell exists objectively;it won’t be silenced even if you cover your own ears.This story vividly explains the basic principle of dialectical materialism:all things exist objectively—a fact that should not be ignored,or else you will deceive yourself and suffer the consequences.