among the rocks - then pools
and pools again
- John Wills
In the Warring States Period, Duke Wei of Qi neglected state affairs, for the first three years of his reign. One of his ministers, Chunyu Kun, who had a good sense of humour, said to him: "There is a big bird which has neither taken wing nor sung for three years." The duke answered, "Once that bird starts to fly and sing, it will astonish the world." The duke devoted himself to his duties and built his state up into a powerful one.
This comes from the phrase "ten years, no sound; one chirp, astonishing people." The apocryphal tale tells of the Emperor's songbird that won't sing. He keeps it for years, and becomes frustrated at its silence. Just as he resolves to rid himself of the bird, it makes a beautiful chirp, and the court is astonished.