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What is said carries weight

In ancient times, there was a prime minister named Shang Yang in the State of Qin. He was held in high regard by the King. In the year 359 BC, he wanted to reform the system politically in order to promote economic development. But he was afraid that the people would not believe local authorities. So he came up with an idea.

古时候,秦国有个相国叫商鞅,秦王很器重他。公元前359年,他打算在秦国实行变法,但他怕百姓们不相信官府,就决定做件事以取得他们的信任。


One day, he had a 10-meter-long pole erected at the south gate outside the capital. Then he told the crowd that whoever successfully carried the pole to the north gate would be awarded 10 ounces of silver. Everyone was astonished, but nobody dared to try. After seeing their lack of response, Shang Yang raised his voice and said, "Anyone who carries the pole to the north gate will get 50 ounces of silver." A brave man did it and was immediately given 50 ounces of silver. Others in the crowd then regretted not trying.

有一天,他把一根10米长的竿子竖在都城南门外,然后告诉百姓如果谁把这根竹竿拿到城边北门,就赏给他10两银子。开始,大家听到这个消息都很吃惊,但没人敢试。于是商鞅又提高声音说:“谁把这根竹竿拿到北门,赏50两银子。”这时,有一个胆子挺大的人愿意去试一试。当他把竹竿拿到北门时,商鞅立刻赏给他50两银子。其他人看见了,都非常后悔自己没去试。


In this way, Shang Yang achieved his goal. Soon after, the State of Qin became the strongest country around.

经过这件事,大家都相信了官府。于是,商鞅的变法进行得很成功,秦国因此成为了当时最强大的国家。


Today, people use the phrase to reconfirm that one can keep his promise.

后来,人们就用“一言为重”来比喻一个人信守承诺。

2016-06-23

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