成語：九牛一毛（JIU NIU YI MAO）: a drop in a bucket or ocean; a single hair out of nine ox hides; a hair from nine cows—the least particle; a hair of a bull’s back; a mite on an elephant; an iota from a vast quantity; a hair from nine oxen—extremely rare.
次年，武帝聽到一則謠言說，李凌為匈奴練兵，在盛怒之下，未查清楚，就將李凌的母親和妻子殺了。其時，邪惡的廷尉杜周為了迎合武帝，誣陷司馬遷有誣衊皇帝之罪，武帝竟然把司馬遷處以最殘酷最恥辱之刑“腐刑”。司馬遷遭受此一打擊，悲痛欲絕，本想自殺，繼而一想，像他這樣地位低微之人死去，在許多富貴人的眼裡，不過是“九牛一毛 ” 而已，不但得不到同情，反而引人嘲笑。所以他下定決心，忍辱負重，用他能力和時間，完成他空前的巨著—史記。
故事英譯：Emperor Wu of Han named Liu Che, heard that General Li Ling leading his courageous troops, achieved many times of victories, and had entered deeply into the central area of Huns, was very happy. In the meantime, many courtiers around the emperor joined just to please the emperor, congratulated to say, “It’s that Your Majesty is intelligent and good in appointing talents.” Afterward, before soon, learned that Li Ling had surrendered to Huns, Emperor Wu was very angry。 Meanwhile, the same courtiers who had congratulated Li Ling’s victory, now all blamed Li Ling being coward and disloyal. Meanwhile, Si Ma Qian, a low ranking official （a palace guard leader）, stood beside, keeping silent, Emperor Wu asked him his opinion to Li Ling’s event. Si Ma Qian honestly said that Li Ling Had only five thousand foot soldiers, unfortunately happened to be sieged by one hundred Huns’ warriors including infantrymen and cavaliers. Even he was out of arrows and food, sheer trapped in such a desperate situation, he and his men could not but surrender to Huns. However, his troops were still sustaining to fight bravely a dozen days and killed 10 thousand enemies. Li Ling should really be called a hero general. At least, his credit could compensate his defeated defect. Finally, Li Ling was out of arrows and food, in a desperate situation of that his returned road was blocked he could not but stopped combat and surrendered to Huns. Li Ling was not really subjected to Huns, but played of convenience and waited for the opportunity to fight again for his country.
But General Li Guang-li, a relative of the emperor, had led a great army being in charge of frontal attack, was defeated badly by Huns. He was really incapable and timid, but no one blamed him and no any punishment which should be deserved by him was put on him. Emperor Wu listened that Si Ma Qian was debating for Li Ling, was enraged and put Si Ma Qian in jail.
Next year, Emperor Wu heard a rumor that Li Ling was training troops for Huns, he was so furious that he executed Li Ling’s mother and wife to death without investigating clearly. In the meantime, the evil jury officer Du Zhou for pandering the emperor, framed Si Ma Qian committing the crime to slandering Emperor, so Si Ma Qian suffered by the most cruel and disgraceful punishment—castration. Afterward suffering such a disgraceful penalty, Si Ma Qian was trapped in the deepest sorrow, and wanted to commit suicide. But then he thought that the death of a small potato like him was just like the death of an ant was a single hair from nine oxen in the eyes of rich men or noble men, not only got no the least sympathy but also would be sneered; so he made a decision that he had to endure the insult, keep his life to use his energy and time to complete his masterpiece of the book—Records of the Grand History.