Chinese Idioms: A Wooden Body and a Rock Heart

PureInsight | October 17, 2007

[] Xia Tong
lived during the Jin Dynasty. He was talented in many fields, including
being an eloquent speaker. Once when he went into the capital to
conduct some business, Jia Chong, a high ranking military official,
heard about his reputation and paid him a visit. Jia Chong not only
admired Xia Tong but also wanted to win him over to strengthen his own

Xia Tong took fame and gains lightly, disliked fighting for power, and
had no desire to be appointed an official.  When Jia Chong came to
visit him, he already knew that Jia Chong would try to convince him.
Xia Tong declined gently. However, Jia Chong did not give up and
intended to entice him by other means.

Jia Chong immediately ordered his magnificent troops, carriages, and
marching band to perform right in front of Xia Tong and said, "If you
take my offer, you can be the leader of the troops, so glorious!" Xia
Tong was not moved.

Jia Chong then asked many beautiful maidens wearing elegant dresses and precious jewelry to dance around Xia Tong.  

"If you accept my offer to be an official, you can have all of these
beautiful maidens." Xia Tong sat there with his body erect as if he had
not seen anything. 

Finally Jia Zhong gave up and angrily told others, "Xia Tong's body is
made of wood and his heart of rock!"   With that, Xia Tong
went back home.

The idiom: "A wooden body and a rock heart" has been passed down for
the generations since then. It means that someone is very steadfast and
cannot be tempted by fame or power.

Translated from:

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