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【每週成語】
錐刀之末

楊愛民

成語:錐刀之末(ZHUI DAO ZHI MO): a small gain; negligible profits; a piece of cake.
出處:左傳:昭公6年。
釋義:比喻細微的事物。小事一樁。
故事:春秋時代,鄭國是個小國,位於兩個大國之間:南是楚國,北是晉國,處境非常艱難。當時,執政者是子產,他是一個有才能的大政治家,一方面與楚晉周旋,一方面還要訓練民眾,俾使國家穩定富強。他制定一些法律以鞏固社會秩序。魯昭公六年(左傳以魯國史為年鑑)三月,子產鑄了刑書(等於今天的法律)。鄭國大夫叔向派人送了一封信給子產,說,“我起初對你的辦法很支持,但是,現在我不同意了。古時候先王都是依照事實,臨時處理事情,不預先定出刑法,就是怕人民互相爭執。夏商周三朝末年因為有亂政才制定刑法。現在,你模仿三朝刑法鑄成法律條文,要想安靖人民,恐怕很難成功。要知道民眾如果知道了有可以爭執的機會,都會去找法律條文作護身符,那麼,即使是非常細小的事情,他們也會引起爭執的(錐刀之事,將盡爭之)。案件一多,行賄之事就跟著而來。過了你這一代,鄭國恐怕要衰敗了。”
子產回信說,“你說得很對,可惜我沒有本領管下一代的事,只能救我這一代了。”
用法:張三對好友李四說,“錐刀之末”何必與他計較。
故事英譯:During the Era of Spring and Autumn, Kingdom Zheng was a small nation and located between two big nations: Kingdom Chu at South and Jin at North, so it had to face an arduous situation. In the meantime, the ruler (the monarch) Zi Chan was a capable politician, who had to deal with Chu and Jin in one side, and had to train people for keeping his country stable and strong. He made criminal book (may equal to the criminal laws today) for consolidating the orders of the society. In March of Duke Zhao of Lu (The Yearbook adopted in Zuo’s Biography) A minister of Zheng’s government, named Shu Xiang, let a man to send a letter to Monarch Zi Chan, said in his letter, “At the beginning, I supported your way of doing things, but now, I don’t agree with you. Our former kings in ancient times were always dealing with public affairs according to the actual situation happened temporarily, hadn’t made the criminal law provisions for fearing that people would dispute one another. Because of having chaos in the last years of the three dynasties: Xia, Shang, & Zhou, so the criminal laws were created. Now, Your Majesty mimicking the laws of Three Dynasties, forged the clauses of laws, attempting to pacifying the public, may be very difficult to get success. You know, if people had learned that they had had opportunities to dispute, they would like to take advantage of the law clauses as their amulets, then, even a very small thing can cause a law-suit, and bribes must be prevailed with the increased law suits. I think that after your dynasty, Kingdom Zheng may be decayed.”
Zi Chan replied with a letter, said, “What you said is right, unfortunately I have no the capability to interfere the events happening in the future generations, and I can just save my own dynasty.”


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