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Chinese Idioms 成 语

Lesson 7
Zhāo sān mù sì
【朝 三 暮 四】
Three at Dawn and Four at Dusk
In the state of Song, there was a man who reared monkeys. He was very fond of monkeys and kept a large number of them. He had a strong bond with the monkeys; he understood them and they understood him. He loved his monkeys so much that he went as far as reducing the amount of food for his own family in order to satisfy the monkeys. There then came a time when his family didn't have enough to eat. He had no choice but to cut down on the monkeys' food. But he was afraid that the monkeys would not submit to him as a result. So, he decided to trick them into accepting less food. He asked them, "If I gave you three chestnuts in the morning and four in the evening, would that be enough?" The monkeys were furious and refused to accept his proposal. A short while later, he asked them, "If I gave you four chestnuts in the morning and three in the evening, would that be enough?" This, the monkeys accepted and rolled around happily on the ground.
shēng cái
(Used in relation to business people) An amiable temper brings wealth; amiability begets riches.
yán yuè
Describes someone with a kind face; be kindly and affable
Hòu zhī yōu
Trouble back at home; family worries
Hòu huàn qióng
No end to trouble in sight; endless trouble in store