Driven to Join the Liangshan Mountain Rebels
This is a story about how an army officer became a rebel in ancient China. We can use this idiom to describe those who are desperate, and have only one choice.
Hello, and welcome to Idioms and their Stories, I'm WJ. Today we'll learn a new phrase meaning “to be forced to do something desperate.” The idioms reads “bi shang liang shan” in Chinese. It literally means “to be driven to join the Liangshan Mountain rebels.” The idiom comes from the Chinese classic, “Outlaws of the Marsh,” which is about a band of outlaws in the Song Dynasty.
The story is about how Lin Chong, an army drill instructor, became one of them. Before Lin Chong joined the outlaws, he was a loyal officer, and good at his work. He had a wife who was both beautiful and nice. One day Lin Chong took his wife to the temple to pray. While he was not present, Gao Yanei, the adopted son of Lin Chong's commander, tried to take liberties with his wife. After Lin Chong returned, Gao Yanei left. Lin Chong dared not sue Gao Yanei, nor take revenge, because he wanted to keep his position.
But Gao Yanei didn't want to give up having Lin Chong's wife. He framed Lin Chong, who was thereupon thrown into prison and later banished. Following Gao Yanei's order, the policemen almost killed Lin Chong on his way to be deported. Fortunately, with his friend's help, Lin Chong survived. But Lin Chong still desperately wanted to return home and continue his previous life.
After Lin Chong arrived at the place to where he was deported, he was told to look after a forage farm. One day, the farm caught fire, and Lin Chong heard Gao Yanei's men saying they had started the fire, which was designed to eventually kill Lin Chong. Lin Chong couldn't hold back his anger. He killed his enemies and left for Liangshan Mountain.
From this story, people drew the idiom “to be forced to do something desperate.” We use it to describe those who have only one, desperate choice. In Chinese, the idiom reads “bi shang liang shan.”