SleepingonBrushwoodandTastingGall卧薪尝胆IntheSpringandAutumnPeriod,theStateofWudefeatedtheStateofYue,andtooktheKingGouJianandhiswifeprisoner.Forseveralyears,GouJianlabouredassalveinWu.Whenhewasreleas...Sleeping on Brushwood and Tasting Gall 卧薪尝胆
In the Spring and Autumn Period, the State of Wu defeated the State of Yue, and took the King Gou Jian and his wife prisoner. For several years, Gou Jian laboured as salve in Wu. When he was released and returned to Yue, Gou Jian was determined to take revenge for losing his state. In order that he would nec\ver forget his humiliation, Gou Jian slept on a pie of brushwood and tasted gall before every meal in order to remind him of the shame and revenge. After ten years of careful preparations, he attacked and finally conquered the State of Wu.
This idiom is used to describe inspiring oneself to accomplish an ambition.