A cry that takes everyone by surprise


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Chun-yu Kun lived in the State of Qi during the period of the Warring States. Short and eloquent, he was good at witty debates and humorous talks.

 His own ruler at that time was King Wei, who governed, the State of Qi. King Wei was very fond of using metaphors and sarcasm in his conversation.

He also indulged in pleasure seeking by drinking and enjoying himself throughout the night at the expense of the government administration which he left to his ministers.

As a result, many officials also adopted an irresponsible attitude towards their duties and the rulers of the other states took the opportunity to encroach upon his territory.

Although they could see the crisis of imminent collapse of their country, the ministers did not have the courage to advise their king accordingly.

 It was at this time that Chun-yu Kun counselled the king metaphorically. He said, " There is a huge bird in our country. It has been resting in the court yard of Your Majesty for three years without flying or crying. Do you know what bird this is, Your Majesty ? " King Wei knew that Chun-yu Kun's sarcasm was directed at him and said in reply, " When this bird does fly, it will soar into the sky; when it does cry, it will take everyone by surprise. "

 Thereupon, the King called up all the officials in charge of his seventy-two districts and examined them. He had a good official rewarded, and a bad one executed. He also boosted the morale of his army which he sent to resist the external aggression. This too every one of his rival rulers by surprise. They all returned the occupied territory to the State of Qi as a result of this excellent action taken by King Wei unexpectedly.

Thereafter, his prestige and influence prevailed for thirty-six years.

 The saying, " A cry that takes everyone by surprise " is derived from this story and used to described a hidden talent which takes others by surprise when it has the opportunity to show itself.
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