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打草惊蛇【dǎ cǎo jīng shé】

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During the Southern Tang period, an official called Wang Lu was highly corrupted. People wrote to bring a lawsuit against one of his subordinates, yet every crime in the letter was relational to him. Wang Lu, in great panic, wrote down his true thoughts when judging the letter: “Although you are hitting the bush, the snake is scared and came out.”

[Definition] It means someone hits the grass but scares the snake, and it is extended to mean others notice your crimes/misbehaviours.



* If you are interested in Chinese folk tales or ghost stories, have a look at: https://chinesestoriesfolktales.quora.com

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