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望梅止渴 (Wàngméizhǐkě)


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望梅止渴 (Wàngméizhǐkě) - Satiate with imaginations.

Literal meaning - Expect plums, quench thirst.

During the end of the Han Dynasty, Cao Cao led an army across a desert. Because it was too hot and the army didn't have any water left, the army had no motivation to continue. Everyone was too thirsty to even lift a finger. No matter what Cao Cao said be it awards or punishments, the soldiers just couldn't walk any further. After hearing one of his men talked about the plums back at home, Cao Cao came up with an idea. He lied to the soldiers saying that there was a huge plum garden at the end of the desert. Since they were in a desert, the soldiers started having hallucinations and mirages of a giant plum farm so they marched and marched until finally leaving the desert.

望梅止渴 (Wàngméizhǐkě) means to fulfill ones wishes with similar things or self imagination.



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