During the Song Dynasty, Zhang Guaya served as the county magistrate in Chongyang. One day, he was walking around Yamen and caught a thief.
Zhang Chengya took him back to the lobby and ordered torture. The thief did not believe they could issue such cruel punishment over what he believed to be such a small crime. “What is a penny! You can only hit me, not kill me!”
Zhang Chengya was furious, and sentenced: One dollar a day, a thousand dollars a thousand days. The rope saw the wood broken, the water dripped through the stone. In order to punish this behavior, Zhang Chengya killed the thief in court.
The phrase “水滴石穿 (shuǐ dī shí chuān)” means the water keeps dripping, and the stones can also be dripped through. As long as you have perseverance and work hard, things will succeed. “水( shuǐ)” means water, “滴( dī)” means drop, “石(shí )” means stone and “穿(chuān)” means penetrate or pass through.