Chinese Idiom: The Fox Profits from the Tiger's Might

PureInsight | August 26, 2007

[] Zhao Xixu was
a high-ranking general of the Chu State during the Warring States
Period.  He was well known. One time Chu Xuanwang, the King of the
Chu State, asked the officials in the imperial court, "I heard that all
the nobility from theNorth are very afraid of Zhao Xixu. Is that true?"
No one answered the question except Jiang Yi.

Jiang said, "A tiger likes to catch all kinds of animals for meals. One
time, he caught a fox.  The fox said, 'You dare not eat me. The
Emperor from Heaven appointed me king of the beasts. If you eat me you
will disobey his order. If you don't believe me, you can follow me and
find out for yourself.' The tiger believed the fox and followed the fox
walking around the forest. All the beasts were so frightened at the
sight of the tiger that they ran away quickly. The tiger did not know
that the animals were afraid of him and thought the animals were afraid
of the fox."

 "Now Your Majesty has five thousand square miles of territory and
100,000 soldiers, but you give Zhao Xixu the power to lead the
soldiers. Therefore, the nobility from North are not afraid of Zhao
Xixu but your armed forces. Just like the animals are afraid of the

This is a story stated in the "Zhan Guo Ce" (Intrigues of the Warring
States). The idiom that the fox profits from the tiger's might evolved
from this story.  It is an analogy referring to people who like to
bully or suppress others when they are associated with someone in a
powerful position.  

Translated from:

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