Chinese Idiom Story – Lan Yu Chong Shu

Chinese Idiom Story - Lan Yu Chong Shu

The idiom 濫竽充數 revolves around a story where a person, who is unable to play 竽 ( a kind of traditional musical instrument) but is able to join a 竽 musical team successfully. This idiom is used to mock someone who holds a position without having the required skills, or to describe a condition where an "unuseful person" joined a team just because "we need one more person to join, regardless of the skill".

This story will have many vocabularies related to music and performance, therefore suitable for intermediate learners.


古时候,齐国的国王很喜欢听音乐,尤其喜欢听吹竽。他现在有300个会吹竽的乐师。国王喜欢热闹,所以每次听吹竽的时候,总是叫这不到300个人在一起合奏给他听。


有个人叫南郭,听说了国王喜欢听合奏,觉得有机可乘,觉得有赚钱的好机会,就跑到国王那里去,跟国王说:「大王啊,听过我吹竽的人,没有不被感动的。鸟听了都会唱歌,花听了也会跳舞,我想把我的技术献给大王。」国王听得高兴,就让他加入吹竽队中。


但其实,南郭不会吹竽。那他怎么办呢?


每逢演奏的时候,南郭就拿着竽混在队伍中,模仿别的乐师的动作。南郭就这样做了一天又一天,不劳而获地白拿很不错的薪水。


但是好景不长,过了几年国王死了,他的儿子就变成新的国王了。新的国王也爱听吹竽,但他喜欢听一个人一个人的表演。听了新的国王的命令,南郭非常着急。他想来想去,觉得真的没办法了,只好当晚收拾行李逃走了。



古時候,齊國的國王很喜歡聽音樂,尤其喜歡聽吹竽。他現在有300個會吹竽的樂師。國王喜歡熱鬧,所以每次聽吹竽的時候,總是叫這不到300個人在一起合奏給他聽。


有個人叫南郭,聽說了國王喜歡聽合奏,覺得有機可乘,覺得有賺錢的好機會,就跑到國王那裡去,跟國王說:「大王啊,聽過我吹竽的人,沒有不被感動的。鳥聽了都會唱歌,花聽了也會跳舞,我想把我的技術獻給大王。」國王聽得高興,就讓他加入吹竽隊中。


但其實,南郭不會吹竽。那他怎麼辦呢?


每逢演奏的時候,南郭就拿著竽混在隊伍中,模仿別的樂師的動作。南郭就這樣做了一天又一天,不勞而獲地白拿很不錯的薪水。


但是好景不長,過了幾年國王死了,他的兒子就變成新的國王了。新的國王也愛聽吹竽,但他喜歡聽一個人一個人的表演。聽了新的國王的命令,南郭非常著急。他想來想去,覺得真的沒辦法了,只好當晚收拾行李逃走了。


English translation:

In ancient times, the king of Qi country liked to listen to music, especially to the Yu. He now had 300 musicians who can play the Yu. The king likes to be lively, so every time he listens to the Yu, he always asks less than 300 people to listen to him together.

Someone called Nan Guo. heard that the king likes to listen to the ensemble, felt that he could take advantage of it, felt that he had a good opportunity to make money, went to the king and said: "The Great King, no one would not be moved by the Yu I played. The bird will sing when they listen to it, and the flowers will also dance when they listen to it. I want to tribute my (Yu playing) skill to the king." The king was happy and let him join the Yu group.

But in fact, Nan Guo cannot play Yu. Then what did he do?

At the time of performance, Nan Guo would bring a Yu and mixed himself with the team, imitating the movements of other musicians. Nan Guo did this day after day, and he got a very good salary without working hard for it.

But the good times didn't last long. After a few years, the king died and his son became a new king. The new king also loves to listen to Yu, but he likes to listen to a one-by-one performance. After listening to the orders of the new king, Nan Guo was very anxious. He thought about it back-and-forth and thought that there was really no way, except to pack his luggage and escape.


The article is taken and revised from here to suit the level of readers. photo is taken from here.  

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