On that particular day the sun was blazing hot. Nobody knew where they could find water. The soldiers were thirsty. They dragged their feet and their marching slowed to a crawl. Some even collapsed from heat stroke, falling unconscious on the road. CaoCao saw this and worried about losing the coming battle.
Then he had an idea. He galloped his horse to catch up with the head of the column and pointed with his whip, saying: "There is a big plum forest ahead. The plums are ripe, delicious and thirst quenching." Hearing about the sweet plums made the soldiers mouths water. Their morale improved. CaoCao seized his chance and ordered his army forward at full speed. Quickly they marched to the battle ground, arriving in good spirits.
Chinese idiom: 望梅止渴 (wàng méi zhǐ kě - literally "anticipate plum stop thirst") Thinking of plums makes your mouth water and stops thirst.
Meaning: Living on fancies. Living on hope.
(wàng méi zhǐ kě - Anticipate Plum Stop Thirst)
有一年夏天，曹操率兵远征。那天骄阳似 火，酷热难当，附近却找不到水源。士兵们口渴难耐，行军速度也慢了下来甚至有人中暑晕倒在路边。曹操 看在眼里，急在心里，担心贻误战机。
这时，他想到一个主意， 骑马赶到队伍前，用马鞭指着前方说道：“有一大片梅林，那里的梅子熟了， 好吃又解渴。”将士们一听有酸甜可口的梅子， 都不 禁流出了口水，士气大振。曹操趁机命令军队全速前进，很快就走出困境，顺利抵达前方营地。