Episode 2: 一举两得 Achieving Two Things At Once

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This episode gives a brief history surrounding the myths of where Chinese people came from! Before this podcast, I didn't even know! Oh the shame of not knowing one's ancestors...

Anyways, today's story is the Chinese equivalent of the English idiom "kill two birds with one stone." This is the idea that an individual can accomplish two things with a single action. I personally found it curious that this idea is prevalent among several cultures.

Most of us are familiar with "kill two birds with one stone," and upon further discussing idioms with my boyfriend (who is Ukrainian) he tells me that the Ukrainians also have a similar story.  I was so excited by this discovery, I wanted to share the Chinese version of the idiom as well, and it goes ( Yi Ju Liang De ). Here's the story for your amusement, it's actually quite violent:

During China's Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC) there was a brave warrior called Bian Zhuang Zi. He was from this area named Lu- but the geography isn't important. 

Anyway, he was as strong as warriors come. One day, two tigers were fighting at a nearby mountain, and Bian Zhuang Zi's first instinct was to take out his precious sword and hike up the mountains to slay the two tigers. 

At this time, a guest at the same hotel Bian Zhuang Zi was staying grabbed the warrior by his arm and said: Don't rush to the mountains, right now the tigers are tearing up a live cow. After that, they'll fight to the death and there can only be one survivor. The winning tiger will be exhausted by the time the fight is over. THAT'S the moment you should go up the mountains to slay the remaining tiger. Then, you can even take credit for killing BOTH tigers. Wouldn't that be a glorious reputation to uphold?

Bian Zhuang Zi agreed. That was the way things had to be done. He took the wise man's advice and without much effort, easily slain the surviving tiger. Hence the Chinese idiom: one action achieves two things.

Moral of this idiom: Be patient, and analyze the situation before jumping into conclusions, it's wiser to achieve multiple things with one action.

I hope you enjoyed this Sunday's story, along with the whimsical photo! 


卞庄子是春秋时鲁国人,他力大无比,胆量过人。有一次,山上出现了两只老虎,卞庄子一听,马上拔出宝剑,就要上山刺虎。旅店里有个仆人一把拽住他说:壮士,不用急,现在,现在那两只老虎正在争吃一头牛!它们拼命搏斗,力气小的会被咬死,力气大的也一定会精疲力竭,伤痕累累。那时候你再上山去,对付剩下的那只老虎,岂不是轻而易举! 而且还可以赢得刺死两只猛虎的美名!