January 22, 2007

Chinese Idiom of the Day #6 : 临渴掘井

临渴掘井 - Lin Ke Jue Jing

Literal Meaning - Reach Thirst Dig Well

Figurative Meaning - Leaving things to the last minute

Story behind idiom:

In the Spring and Autumn Period, Duke Zhao of the State of Lu fled to the State of Qi, following palace turmoil. He admitted his mistakes to Duke Jing of Qi. Duke Jing advised him to go back to Lu, as he might become a wise ruler, since he recognised his faults. But Yanzi, an official of Qi, said, "It is too late to make weapons when one is endangered, and to dig a well when one needs water desperately."

This idiom warns against not being prepared, but seeking help at the last moment.  

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