Meaning of the Idiom
ke zhou qiu jian（to mark the boat in order to find the lost sword）
One day, a man of the State of Chu was crossing a river by boat. Due to carelessness, his sword which hung at his side fell into the water. Not in the least worried, he slowly took out a small knife and cut a mark on the side of the boat.
Someone on the boat asked him:
“Why don’t you jump into the water at once to fish for your sword? What’s the use of making this mark on the side of the boat?”
He pointed to the mark on the side of the boat, saying unhurriedly:
“There is no need to worry. My sword fell into the river at this marked place. As soon as the boat reaches the dock and pulls in to shore, I will jump down from here to retrieve my sword.”
No one understood why he did this, and they stopped asking him.
As soon as the ship reached the shore, the Chu man went into the water at the place marked on the ship to retrieve the fallen sword. The Chu people fished for a long time, but never saw the shadow of the sword. He was very surprised and said to himself, “Isn’t this where my sword fell? I made a mark here. How can I not find it now?”
When he said this, the men burst out laughing and said, “How can you find your sword when the ship is still moving and your sword is under the water and will not move with the ship?”
[ěr yú wǒ zhà]，比喻死守教条，拘泥成法，固执不变通的人。
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