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马首是瞻 Ma3 Shou4 Shi4 Zhan1
The English Story of the Proverb
The English Meaning of the Proverb
ma3(马)shou4(马首)：the head of the horse
zhan1(瞻)：look ahead to
Come along with the horse head, go wherever it is. Firmly follow someone’s lead.
During the Spring and Autumn period. Xunyan, the senior general of Jin ,united 12 kingdoms to attract Qin. He announced to start when the cock crows in the morning, and all the wells must be filled, disconnecting the stoves. Everyone need see his horse to make action, following him all the time. The soldiers have different opinions, someone thought he was too bossy and didn’t want to follow him, but the assistant general followed him. Finally, the whole army fell into disorder. Xun sighed:” Since the command can’t be implemented, there is no hope of winning, once the war started, Qin will definitely gain advamtage.” So he had to withdraw the troops.
The Chinese Story of Proverb
春秋时，晋淖公联合了十二个诸侯国攻伐秦国，指挥联军 的是晋国的大将荀偃。荀偃向全军将领发布命令说：“明天早晨。鸡一叫就开始驾马套车出发。各军都要填平水井，拆掉炉灶。作战的时候，全军将士都要看我的马头来定行动的方向。我奔向那里，大家就跟着奔向那里。”想不到荀偃的下军将领认为，荀偃这样指令，太专横了，反感他说：“晋国从未下过这样的命令，为什么要听他的？好，他马头向西， 我偏要向东。”将领的副手说：“他是我们的头，我听他的。”于是也率领自己的 队伍朝东而去：这样一来，全军顿时混乱起来。失去了下军，荀偃仰天叹道：“既然下的命令不能执行，就不会有取胜的希望，一交战肯定让秦军得到好处。”他只好下令将全军撤回去。