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QuenchingThirstbyWatchingPlums

Onesummer,CaoCaowasleadinghistroopsinapunitiveexpeditionagainstZhangXiu.
Itwasextraordinarilyhot.Theburningsunwaslikeafire,andtheskywascloudless.
Thesoldierswerewalkingonthewindingmountainpaths.
Thedenseforestandthehotrocksexposedtothesunonbothsides
ofthepathsmadethesoldiersfeelsuffocated.
Bynoontimethesoldiers'clotheswerewetthroughwithsweat,
andthemarchingspeedsloweddown.
Somesoldersofweakphysiqueevenfaintedontheroadside.

Seeingthatthemarchingspeedwasslowerandslower,
CaoCaowasveryworriedbecausehefearedthathemightbungle
thechanceofwinningthebattle.Buthowcouldtheyquickentheirspeed?
CaoCaoatoncecalldetheguideandaskedhimon
thequietwhethertherewasasourceofwaternearby.
Theguideshookhishead,sayingthatthespringwaterwason
theothersideofthemountain,
whichwasveryfartohavetomakeadetourtoreach.
CaoCaorealizedthattimedidn'tpermitthemtomakesuchadetour.
Afterthinkingforamoment,hesaidtotheguide,"Keepquiet.I'llfindawayout."
Heknewthatitwouldbetonoavailtoorderhistroopstoquickenthesteps.
Hehadabrainwaveandfoundagoodsolution.
Hespurredhishorseandcametotheheadofthecolumn.
Pointinghishorsewhiptothefront,CaoCaosaid,"
Soldiers,Iknowthereisabigforestofplumsahead.
Theplumstherearebothbiganddelicious.
let'shurryalong,andwewillreachtheforestofplumsafterbypassingthishill."
Whenthesoldersheardthis,theyimmediatelyslobbered.
Picturingintheirmindsthesweetandsourflavouroftheplums,
thesoldiersfeltasiftheywereactuallyeatingtheplums,
thesoldiersfeltasiftheywereactuallyeatingtheplumsthemselves.
Themoralegreatlyboosted,
thesoldiersquickenedtheirstepsagreatdealautomatically.

Thisstorycomesfrom"TheFakeTangery"i
nAnecdotesofThisWorldbyLiuYiqingoftheSouthernDynastiesperiod(420-589).
Fromthisstory,peoplehavederivedthesetphrase"
quenchingthirstbywatchingplums"
torefertotryingtocomfortoneselfofothersbyidledreams.

望梅止渴

有一年夏天,曹操率领部队去讨伐张绣,天气热得出奇,骄阳似火,天上一丝云彩也没有,部队在弯弯曲曲的山道上行走,两边密密的树木和被阳光晒得滚烫的山石,让人透不过气来。到了中午时分,士兵的衣服都湿透了,行军的速度也慢下来,有几个体弱的士兵竟晕倒在路边。

曹操看行军的速度越来越慢,担心贻误战机,心里很是着急。可是,眼下几万人马连水都喝不上,又怎么能加快速度呢?他立刻叫来向导,悄悄问他:“这附近可有水源?”向导摇摇头说:“泉水在山谷的那一边,要绕道过去还有很远的路程。”曹操想了一下说,“不行,时间来不及。”他看了看前边的树林,沉思了一会儿,对向导说:“你什么也别说,我来想办法。”他知道此刻即使下命令要求部队加快速度也无济于事。脑筋一转,办法来了,他一夹马肚子,快速赶到队伍前面,用马鞭指着前方说:“士兵们,我知道前面有一大片梅林,那里的梅子又大又好吃,我们快点赶路,绕过这个山丘就到梅林了!”士兵们一听,仿佛已经吃到嘴里,精神大振,步伐不由得加快了许多。

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