Chinese Idiom of the Day #3 : 指鹿为马
指鹿为马 - Zhi Lu Wei Ma
Literal Meaning - Point (at) Deer as horse.
Figurative Meaning - Calling a stag a horse
Western Equivalent - Calling black white.
Story behind idiom:
In the Qin Dynasty, the prime minister, Zhao Gao, plotted to usurp the throne. Fearing that the other ministers would oppose this, he though of a way of testing them. He presented a deer to the emperor, and said, "This is a horse." The emperor laughed and said, "You must be joking; this is a deer." Then Zhao Gao asked the ministers present. Some kept silent, some said that it was a deer, and others agreed that it was a horse.
Later Zhao Gao had all the ministers who had not said that it was a horse killed.
This metaphor describes distorting facts by calling white black.