Adding pupils to a dragon or last touch added to a drawing

Once a famous artist Zhang Seng You drew four dragons on the walls of An Le Temple, Jin Ling, but he left the pupils of the dragons unfinished.

Someone asked him the reason of the omission. In answer, he said that if he put the pupils therein the dragons would become alive and fly away. The questioner did not believe it and requested him to complete the work. The artist nodded assent.

But as soon as the two dots were drawn, all of a sudden, there were thunder and lightning and the dragon became alive and instantly flew away, while the other three without pupils still remained there.

Based on this fairy tale, the last touch added to a drawing is said to be the act of adding pupils to a dragon, that is to say, the last touch in a masterpiece is the most important part of a drawing, or any other important business.

A bird startled by the mere twang of a bow-string

During the time of the Warring States (475-221 BC), there lived a well-known archer named Geng Ying whose art in shooting was excelled by none at his time.One day, as he was standing by the side of the King of Wei, a flock of swan were flying over. With confidence, Geng Ying said to the king, “The twang of my bow-string might bring down a bird.” The King doubted much.

Just then a solitary swan goose appeared, low and slow in its flight, sad and dolorous in its cry. Instantly Geng Ying bended his bow and forcibly pulled the bowstring. Twang! High up went the shrilling sound into the air and down fell the bird to the ground.

The king admired with bewilderment. Gang Ying then explained: “The bird was flying low and slowly, because it was already hurt; it was crying in a bitter tone, because it had lost its companions. Due to the fact that it was already hurt and sad at heart, the twang of my strong bow, that birds dreaded most, startled it. The shrilling sound made its heart beat fast, its wings weak, its balance uneven. Thus it fell down just as commonly as a man drops his chop-sticks, at the thunder-stroke, at a dinner table.”

Henceforth comes the idiom “A bird startled by the mere twang of a bow-string”, illustrating a case where a man who had been previously and repeatedly frightened became numb and stupefied by a new thing of the same nature not knowing how to face the new situation.