During Chinese Warring States period, there lived a rich man in state Song. One day, his wall in the back yard collapsed in a heavy rain.
His son warned him: "Father, we'd better fix the wall as soon as possible, otherwise thieves might came in tonight."
His neighbor, a warm-hearted, old man also gave him the same advise. But the rich man thought there was no need to do this in such a hurry.
At the following night, just as his son and the old man had expected, thieves sneaked into his house and stole a lot of money and property.
The rich thought his son was a genius but suspected his neighbor of stealing his belongings.
Background and Writer Comment:This idiom story is from Shuo Nan, an article of Han Fei Zi. Now the idiom is used to describe the case in which one is unable to act justly and wisely.
The idiom has two morals:
- It is important to examine issues with detachment. If we fail to do so, we will make the same mistake as the rich man.
- Before we say anything, we not only should consider if what we are going to say is right or not, but also need to think about how the listener may respond to what we say. Good opinions do not always lead to good results.