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【楊愛民】
息壤在彼

楊愛民

成語:息壤在彼(XI RANG ZAI BI): Xi Rang is at there—remind others not breach their agreement; one must not break their promise;one must honestly practice his/her promise.
出處:戰國策,秦策。
釋義:息壤在彼意思是說在息壤定的盟約仍然算數—提醒對方絕不能背信食言。
故事:息壤是秦國的一個城市,在那個地方秦王和他的左丞相甘茂簽訂了一個合約,雙方同意攻打韓國絕不反悔。甘茂怕秦王不能遵守承諾而食言,舉了許多著名的例子以增強秦王的意志。然後他們開始圍攻韓國的宜陽,不斷地圍攻達五個月之久而仍然無法攻下。秦王認為已經浪費了太多的時間仍然無法攻克,故建議暫時罷兵,等到有利的時機來臨再起兵攻打。可是,甘茂不同意秦王的建議,不願意放棄圍攻宜陽。甘茂指著息讓的方向說,“息壤在那裡嗎?”。秦王答,“是。”
秦王知道甘茂在提醒他要遵守他們在息壤所簽訂的約定。於是,秦王從國內派去更多的軍隊到宜陽前線,和甘茂的部隊共同作猛烈攻擊,不久,宜陽城終於攻破。
此成語“息壤在彼”即出自上述故事。意思是一個人要堅守諾言,絕不可背信。
我們用它的時機是當我們看出對方有爽約之意時,就可用它提醒對方不可食言背信。
用法:欲提醒某人不要背信,即可說“息壤在彼”。這是個生僻的典故,但很實用。
故事英譯:Xi Rang was a city of Kingdom Qin, at that place an agreement was signed by King of Qin and his Left-premier Gan Mao, in which both of them agreed to attack Kingdom Han together without regret absolutely. Gan Mao was afraid that the king of Qin might not keep his agreement and may break his promise, so cited several famous examples for strengthening the king’s will. Then, they began to seize Yi Yang City of Han and continuously to assault it for 5 months without overcoming it. King of Qin thought that it had wasted too long to capture it, so he suggested that it’s better to retreat his troops home temporarily and came back to attack it when the odds was at Qin’s side. However, Gan Mao disagreed to the king’s suggestion of giving up their seizing of Yi Yang. Gan Mao pointed the direction Xi Rang located and said, “Is Xi Rang there?” The king said, “Yes.” The king knew that Gan Mao reminded him that he shouldn’t forget the agreement they had signed at Xi Rang. Then, King of Qin sent more domestic troops to the front of Yi Yang, and combined with Gan Mao’s armed forces to make a more fierce attack on Yi Yang City, soon, Yi Yang was finally overcome.
The idiom (sentence) “Xi Rang is there” comes from the story above mentioned. It means that one should keep his promise firmly, never breach one’s faith.
The opportunities we use it should be when we have known the other side of a contract has the intention of a breach faith, you use it to remind the opposite side doesn’t break his promise.


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