和氏献璧

One day, a man named He Shi of the State of Chu got a piece of uncarved jade1 in a hill. He quickly went to present it to King Li of the State of Chu. King Li asked a jade craftsman2 to appraise3 it. The jade craftsman said: "This is a piece of ordinary stone."

 

King Li believed that He Shi had deceived him and felt very angry. He had He Shi's left foot cut off.

 

After King Li died, King Wu became the king. Again He Shi took this piece of jade to present it to King Wu. King Wu asked a jade craftsman to appraise it. The jade craftsman also said: "This is a piece of ordinary stone."

 

King Wu believed that He Shi had deceived him and had He Shi's right foot cut off.

 

After King Wu died, King Wen succeeded to the throne. He Shi sat at the foot of the hill, held the piece of jade in his hands and wept. He wept for three days and three nights until his tears dried up and his eyes bled. When King Wen heard of this, he sent someone to ask He Shi: "Many people in the world have had their feet cut off. Why do you weep so broken-heartedly?"

 

He Shi answered: "I am not weeping for losing both my feet. I am broken-hearted because the King takes the jade for a piece of stone, and my loyalty4 for deceit."

 

After King Wen heard this, he sent for a jade craftsman and ordered him to chisel5 open the jade. Sure enough it was a piece of genuine jade. Thus King Wen of Chu named it "He Shi Jade".

 

一天,有个名叫“和氏”的楚国人,在一座山里得到一块没有雕琢过的玉石,连忙拿去献给楚厉王。厉王叫玉匠鉴定,玉匠说:“这是一块普通的石头。”

 

厉王认为和氏欺骗了他,非常气愤,就砍掉了和氏的左脚。

 

厉王死后,武王当了国王。和氏又拿着这块玉石去献给武王。武王叫玉匠鉴定,玉匠说:“这是一块普通的石头。”

 

武王认为和氏欺骗了他,就砍掉了他的右脚。

 

武王死后,文王当了国王。和氏抱着那块玉石,坐在那座山的山脚下哭泣,一连哭了三天三夜,哭干了眼泪,连血都哭出来了。文王听说后,就派人去问和氏:“天下被砍去脚的人很多,你为什么哭得这样伤心呢?”

 

和氏回答说:“我不是因为失去双脚而哭泣,而是因为国王把宝石当做石头,把忠诚说成欺骗,所以才这样伤心。”

 

文王听了和氏的话后,就派人把玉匠找来,命令玉匠把玉石凿开,一看果然是一块真的玉石。楚文王就把这块玉石命名为“和氏璧”。

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