Once upon a time, there was a crow chilling on a tree branch. He looked below and saw a black pig and said out loud:
HAHA! Look at this pig, he looks dirty.
The pig looked around and finally realized it was an equally black crow who was poking fun at him. He responds:
Oh, it’s just a pathetic filthy little crow.
The crow became offended and shouts:
Who are you calling filthy? Have you taken a look at yourself?
The pig clapped back:
After a string of arguing back and forth. They walked over to the nearest pond to see determine who was the lesser attractive animal. They stared at their reflection, looked at each other in detail and remained silent for a while. Then the crow happily spoke up and said:
There’s nothing wrong with having a dark coat!
The pig happily agreed:
Yeah I think black is a good look!
Moral of the idiom: Don’t judge someone else before taking a good look at yourself. Additionally, just because someone has similar traits to you, does not also mean it’s a good thing.BLOG RSS
In the 800 BC, during the Zhou dynasty, there was a man from the country of Zheng. (Modern day center of China).
One day, he was working so hard he ripped his shoes. He says: oh no! I'll have to run into town and buy myself a few pair of shoes.
He carefully measured his feet with a string and head out to the marketplace.
When he arrived at a shoe merchant, he saw plenty of options but noticed he left his measuring string back at home. He tells the merchant he'll be right back, and frantically runs back to his home.
He goes back home, retrieves the string and heads back to the marketplace. Unfortunately, he wasted so much time running back and forth that the merchants have all started to close up shop. The poor man did not get to buy a new pair of shoes.
Depressed, he sits down and laments. Villagers came up to him and asked him why he didn't just try on the new shoes on the spot. He responds: the string is more accurate measurement of my feet, I am sure of it. My feet are unreliable.
That is the end of the story.
Moral of this idiom: do not be so rigid and stick to conventional thinking while ignoring the realityBLOG RSS
Saknas det avsnitt?
This story took place during the warring states in the country of Qi. The leader of Qi was Qi Xuan Wang. We can call him King Qi for short. He enjoyed raising roosters for cock fights. Terrible sport, but that's because there were no street racing, boxing or other competitions for him back then.
He hired a cock-fighting expert named Ji Sheng Zi to train his pet roosters. But King Qi was an impatient dude so a few days after training began, he went to bother Ji Sheng Zi. The trainer said "No, this rooster is not ready."
King Qi returned a few days later to check on his roosters hoping that they'd be ready for fighting. He bothers Ji Sheng Zi again who responded, "This rooster is still not quite ready, he's easily angered and still needs more training."
King Qi's patience grew weary and he returned a few days later to ask the trainer. This time, he was surprised that Ji Sheng Zi said "Yes! This rooster is mature enough to fight!"
Finally, King Qi was able to bring his prized rooster to the fighting pits.
Fighting between roosters is more than just aggressively attacking each other. There's also a mental aspect. You can't tell but the roosters are silently insulting each other and playing psychological mind games with each other.
This particular rooster was so well-trained that he would maintain his composure no matter how much the opposing rooster would instigate it. King Qi's rooster would stay so still that it looked like a wooden chicken! The opposing roosters would stare at King Qi's chicken and be confused at its wood-like demeanor and all be too afraid to fight. That's how King Qi's rooster would go on to win numerous victories. Thus, the story behind "Dumb Like A Wooden Chicken."
Moral of the Idioms: Just because something looks dumb does not mean you should neglect its potentialBLOG RSS
Dong Shi Xiao PinBLOG RSS
During the Spring and Autumn period, there was a beautiful girl who lived in the country of Yue. Her name was Xi Shi, one of the 4 beauties in Chinese history. She was so freakin' beautiful that everything she did was perceived to be beautiful. Even when she winces from her chest pain she looked gorgeous...painfully gorgeous. Because everyone in the village loved her so much, whenever she was in pain and grabbed her chest, people thought it was rather adorable.
A few houses away, there lived her girl named Dong Shi. She was on the entire opposite spectrum as Xi Shi. Dong Shi was not very beautiful to begin with, but was someone who kept trying to improve her outer beauty. One day, Dong Shi saw Xi Shi grab her chest on the street, and assumed that it was something "beautiful" people do. So, Dong Shi began to grab her chest for no reason at all. Instead of people perceiving Dong Shi as beautiful, people only saw her as crazy. Whenever they saw Dong Shi running around the street, they'd run inside their homes and shut the front door.
MORAL OF THE IDIOM: Improper imitation CAN have the reverse effect than what you're trying to achieve
JI MAO SUAN PIBLOG RSS
Once upon a time, in China (obviously), there were two neighboring families. One family slaughtered chickens for a living, and the other ran a restaurant...a very garlicky restaurant.
The family who slaughtered chickens had to pluck the chicken feathers every morning and would leave their floors a mess. The family with the restaurant would peel garlic and leave the shavings all over their floors. This mess took place almost every day.
Now, when the wind blows, sometimes the chicken feathers would fly over to the garlic side. And other times, the garlic peel would find itself being blown over to the chicken feather side. Both families would get upset and blamed the other party for the mess. Even though both are technically responsible.
They brought this issue up to the magistrate who immediately dismissed the problem as soon as he read: chicken feathers and garlic peel.
Ever since then, the Chinese would refer to trivial matters as "chicken feathers and garlic peel."
Moral of the idiom: don't wait for small things to turn into something big
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 鸡毛蒜皮
有一次，两家矛盾升级了。卖鸡的和卖蒜的打起来了，双双负伤，最后对簿公堂。县官一看是为了 “鸡毛” 和 “蒜皮” 这样的小事，便说 “这等鸡毛和蒜皮的小事也来对簿公堂！每人十大板，回去反省吧！“ 后来，鸡毛蒜皮便传开了。人们渐渐用来形容那些琐碎，不起眼的事，或价值很小的东西。
按图索骥：AN TU SUO JIBLOG RSS
This is a funny idiom about the most famous horse expert in China...Bo Le. He was a resident from the country of Qin. He recorded everything he knew about horses in an anthology of books called "Shiang Ma Jing." Which was like an encyclopedia on thorough bred horses. His writings could be used to find the fastest, strongest horse...mostly for military/sporting purposes.
Bo Le had a little son who was obsessed with finding the finest horse on his own. The little boy had thoroughly read the "Shiang Ma Jing" over and over, inside and out. One day he went off to look for a horse on his own. Shortly after running outside, he was SO sure he found a horse that matched the description in his father's books. The boy threw the horse into a sack and excitedly ran to show it off to his father.
Bo Le's son took the horse out of the sack and waited for his father's validation. Turns out, the horse in the sack...was a huge toad! Bo Le laughed and joked to his son: "This horse of yours sure likes to jump, but I don't think anyone can ride it!"
Moral of this idiom: don't always stick by the book (or the rules) also, get your information from multiple sources before coming to a conclusion
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 按图索骥
伯乐是春秋时最会相马的人，他总结自己多年相马的经验，写成一本书，叫 “相马经。” 他的儿子把 “相马经” 背得滚瓜烂熟，准备 “按图索骥” 照书上的标准，去寻找千里马。
几天后，他儿子高高兴兴地回来了，对伯乐说：我找到千里马了！这马和 “相马经” 讲的差不多，就是蹄子不大像。说完，他从布袋里倒出一只大癞蛤蟆来。
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This idiom is about a silly man named Du Hsuan and how he found a snake in his cup of wine when he attended the magistrate's party. The magistrate was a man who loved to encourage his guests to drink so Du Hsuan had no choice but to comply. Shortly after, he got sick...really sick. He called the doctor, but the doctor could not properly diagnose his problems.
The magistrate thought it was a bit strange that Du Hsuan disappeared for a while so he paid the sick man a visit. Du Hsuan INSISTED there was a snake in his cup that night of the dreadful party. The magistrate was curious so he returned back to his mansion and contemplated the scene of the "crime." He poured himself another cup of wine, and saw...to his amazement, the reflection of a bow that was hanging on his wall. That darn reflection was the reason Du Hsuan thought he saw a snake in his cup.
The magistrate went back to Du Hsuan to reveal that there was never a snake in the cup...it was just the reflection of a bow. And just like that, all of Du Hsuan's "symptoms" disappeared.
Was he sick or not? How can the fake symptoms seem so real?
MORAL OF THE IDIOM: Our mental state state has a very direct effect on our physical state.
In other words, the placebo effect is real. So real. Chinese folks will also use this to describe somebody who likes to scare the shiet out of themselves. I give the "Bloody Mary" example because its a dumb game I used to play to scare myself. That's a literal example of me trying to look for a snake in a cup.
鹬蚌相争：YU BANG SHIANG ZHENGBLOG RSS
This is a fantastic parable about a clam who wouldn't let go of a snipe, and the snipe refused to let go of the clam.
The snipe says to the clam: If I don't let go today, and I don't let go tomorrow, you'll get de-hydrated and I'll be seeing a dead clam on the beach tomorrow.
The clam says to the snipe: If I don't let go today, and I don't let go tomorrow. You'll simply starve, and I'll be seeing a dead snipe on the beach tomorrow.
Little do they know, neither of them are winners. They're both about to be dinner. (Oooo that rhymes!)
MORAL OF THE IDIOM: Learn to let go of the things before they consume you.
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This idiom is a fantastic parable about 5 blind men who all touch only a part of an elephant and insisted they saw its entirety. Be humble. Allow the possibility that you could very well be wrong about something.ORIGINAL IDIOM: 盲人摸象
叶公好龙：YEH GONG HAO LONGBLOG RSS
During the Spring and Autumn period (771-476BC), there was an official from the country of Chu by the name of Mister Ye Gong
Mister Ye was famous for being a huge fan of dragons. His ceilings would have paintings of dragons, the beams in his house would be carved with dragon designs. All four walls in his home had paintings of dragons.
His reputation for being a dragon-enthusiast spread to the dragon deity in the heavens. This real-life dragon was humbled by Ye Gong's devotion and thought: hmm, I must pay this Ye Gong fellow a visit.
So the dragon deity flew down for an unannounced visit...determined to meet Ye Gong face-to-face. But here's the thing about dragons, when they descend from the sky, they are followed by thunder, lightning and a heck of a lot of wind.
As the dragon approached, unbeknownst to Ye Gong, the heavy wind and rain caused his windows to fly open. As Ye Gong went to shut his windows, he was shocked to see a giant dragon face. A REAL LIVE DRAGON was staring right at him. Cheeses!
The sight of the dragon was SO tremendous for Ye Gong that he let out a blood-curdling scream before fainting on the spot.
Moral of the idiom: Sometimes, you think you know and love someone/something, but you have NO idea. You really have to live or experience it to have a deeper understanding.
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 叶公好龙
杀鸡儆猴：SHA JI JING HOUBLOG RSS
Killing The Chicken To Frighten The Monkey
Once upon a time, there was a street artist who purchased a monkey in hopes of turning it into a performing monkey. This particular monkey was not very obedient and gave the street artist a very hard time. The artist had enough and purchased a chicken on the market. He would terrorize the chicken by beating drums and making awfully loud noises.
When the chicken was frozen in fear, the artist took a cleaver and beheaded the chicken in front of his disobedient monkey. By making an example out of the chicken, the artist was able to tame the mischievous monkey who never stepped out of line ever again.
Moral of the idiom: You might need to make an example of out something to prove a point. Also, fear (although not encouraged) might be the answer.
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 杀鸡儆猴
刻舟求剑：KUH JOU CHIU JIANBLOG RSS
During the Warring States, there was a man from the country of Chu. He was sailing on a small boat when all of a sudden, a gust of wind rocked the boat and knocked his sword into the water. Everyone on the boat expressed concern for him and encouraged him to immediately retrieve the sword. But the man was not worried and simply took out a knife and made a mark on the side of the boat. He then nonchalantly added, "My sword fell at the exact location of this mark."
He then encouraged the boat to keep sailing toward the dock. Everyone on the boat was a bit confused by the man's actions but they kept sailing. Once they docked, the man from Chu removed his clothes and jumped into the waters. He swam around to the location of the mark he made on the side of the boat to look for his sword. And to nobody's surprise, the sword could not be found.
Moral of the idiom: One cannot be so obstinate and unwillingly to change. While one method might work for one purpose, it might not work elsewhere. Don't settle for an one purpose fits all solution.
ORIGINAL STORY: 刻舟求剑
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Once upon a time, there was a forest of cute little monkeys. You can imagine macaques, chimps, or even pygmy marmosets. They were playing near a well, but for the sake of Emily's version, it was a lake. Because let's be real, monkeys don't naturally gather around wells.
One particular little monkey noticed that there was a reflection of the moon shining from the surface of the lake. Not knowing that it was merely a reflection, he freaked the heck out and thought the moon must have fell into the lake!
He then called all of his monkey friends over to the lake in hopes of scooping the moon back out. After all, if the moon fell into the lake, we must put it back into the sky! All of the monkeys agreed that the moon must be saved, and they all climbed up a nearby tree and clung to each other by their tails. (As pictured)
SO CUTE! 🐵
Sadly, as soon as the first monkey reached his hands into the water to scoop out the moon, the water slipped out of his hands. The moon's reflection disappeared and the monkeys realized they made a foolish mistake.
Now, in the original story, the tree branch they hung from also broke and all the little monkeys fell into the water. But that's too gratuitous for my preferences. Monkeys can swim and I'm sure they were all fine.
Moral of the idiom:
Think before you act, don't jump to conclusions. And if you happen to be one of the monkey's buddies, maybe mull it over before you decide to hop on. Be like the moon and reflect :) sometimes the answer is right there if you simply look up.
ORIGINAL STORY: 猴子救月
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In ancient times, there was a talented musician by the name of Gong Ming Yi. He adored music so much he would carry his Zheng (a classical Chinese string instrument) everywhere he went.
Classical Gu Zheng
One day, when Gong Ming Yi was on a walk, he came across a beautiful green pasture. He noticed a cow grazing in the middle of the pasture and sat down to play his instrument. Gong Ming Yi wanted to serenade the cow in this picturesque field, so he strummed the most complicated song he knew. The cow showed no reaction whatsoever.
Gong Ming Yi figured the composition was probably too deep for the cow to understand, so he played another piece. This time, the cow glanced up at him, wagged his tail but then continued to graze mindlessly.
The musician then realized the cow would never understand his music. He was saddened by the cow's indifference to his talent...thinking his skills were not up to par. People would tell Gong Ming Yi that it was not that his skills were unimpressive, it's that the cow will never understand musicality. They insisted that the cow is simply dumb.
Gong Ming Yi replied, "It's not that the cow that is dumb, it is me who is dumb. I did not realize to whom I was playing music."
Moral of The Idiom: Not everyone will speak the same language as you, so do not expect them to understand. Don't expect everyone to see eye-to-eye with you. Know the people you are communicating with, it might not necessarily be their fault for not level-ing with you.
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 对牛弹琴
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Hey folks! I sat down with Dr. Dennis Zheng...in his own home and forced him to discuss the castration process with me. I felt as if it is my duty to educate everyone on how Chinese eunuchs prepared themselves for their new role as palace watchdogs. Dr. Zheng is a Harvard graduate with a whopping 3.7 GPA, but don't be alarmed...he makes up the missing 0.3 with his charm.
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After the death of China's first emperor: Qin Shi Huang Di (or more famously known as Emperor Qin). His son Qin the 2nd inherited the throne and became Emperor Qin 2.
Emperor Qin 2 was just a figurehead as Prime Minister Zhao Gao, a eunuch, was the real power behind the throne. Back in China, you had to be castrated to serve closely to the Emperor, as not to impregnate his concubines. Zhao Gao was an especially clever eunuch, and while he may not have any balls, he held a LOT of power in the political sphere.
Prime Minister Zhao Gao wanted the Emperor's spot for his own, so he devised a plan to test out the loyalties of the other officials in the imperial court. He presented Emperor Qin 2 with a deer and said to him, "VOILA your highness, this is a horse!"
The young Emperor Qin 2 was shocked and said, "But Prime Minister, this is clearly a deer."
Prime Minister Zhao Gao stubbornly retorted, "Your highness, this is a horse! If you don't believe me, ask the other officials in the court."
Several of the court officials followed in Zhao Gao's lead because they feared his power and wrath. They went along in deceiving the young Emperor bleating: "Yes! It's a horse, a fine horse!"
Others took the honest route and defied Prime Minister Zhao Gao, and they were brought to their deaths. The officials who lied for Zhao Gao survived the test and even ended up with a pleasant promotion...moving up in ranks.
Moral of the Idiom: Someone who points at a deer, but insists on saying it's a horse is deliberately lying. It's also used to refer to someone who distorts the truth/reality.
ORIGINAL IDIOM: 指鹿为马
This idiom refers to the determination and perseverance that one possesses when faced with the impossible.
This is a Chinese creation myth. It's about a guy who worked really really hard.
This week's idiom is called: To Buy Jewelbox, and Return The Jewel (买椟还珠) it's pretty ridonkulous...why would you return the jewel back to the merchant and only keep the box?! Listen to find out, or just fast forward to the end.
What does it mean to add feet to the snake you ask? Well it means you are adding more than necessary. Because everyone knows snakes don't need feet! Even if you give snakes feet...they won't know how to use them! In Chinese it is called "Adding Feet To The Snake" or 画蛇添足 (Hua She Tian Zu). Have fun!