in the spring and autumn period, a man in the state of song raised monkeys. the monkeys could understand what he said.
as the man became poor, he wanted to reduce the monkeys' food. he first suggested that he give them three acorns(橡子) in the morning and four acorns in the evening.
thereupon, the monkeys protested angrily. then their owner said, "how about four in the morning and three in the evening?" the monkeys were satisfied with that.
this idiom originally meant to befool others with tricks. later it is used to mean to keep changing one's mind.
In the Warring States Period, a man in the state of Chu was offering a sacrifice(祭品) to his ancestors. After the ceremony, the man gave a beaker of wine to his servants.
The servants thought that there was not enought wine for all of them, and decided to each draw a picture of snake; the one who finished the picture first would get the wine.
One of them drew very rapidly. Seeing that the others were still busy drawing, he added feet to the snake.
At this moment, another man finished, snatched the beaker(烧杯，元旦祝福语，大口杯) and drank the wine, saying,"A snake doesn't have feet. How can you add feet to a snake?"
This idiom refers to ruining a venture by doing unnecessary and surplus things.
In the Spring and Autumn Period, a farmer in the State of Song was one day working in the fields when he saw a rabbit bump into a tree stump(树桩) accidentally and break its neck.
The farmer took the rabbit home, and cooked himself a delicious meal.
That night he thought, 'I needn't work so hard. All I have to do is wait for a rabbit each day by the stump.'
So from then on he gave up farming, and simply sat by the stump waiting for rabbits to come and run into it.
This idiom satirizes(讽刺，结婚祝福语，挖苦) those who just wait for a stroke of luck, rather than making efforts to obtain what they need.