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Chinese allegories Lesson 8
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Chinese allegories

Two-part allegorical saying (of which the first part, always stated, is descriptive, while the second part, often unstated, carries the message)

jĭng dĭ de há ma – jiàn shi shăo
井底的蛤蟆 – 见识少
Frog in a well – A person with a very limited outlook

kŏng fū zĭ de kŏu dài – shū dāi (dài) zi
孔夫子的口袋 – 书呆(袋)子
Confucius' bag is full of books. (Confucius is the Chinese philosopher, educator and founder of Confucianism in late Spring and Autumn Period.) – Somebody is a pedant or bookworm.

tū zi dāng hé shang – jiāng jiu cái liào
秃子当和尚 – 将就材料
Let a baldhead serve as a monk. – Make do with what is available.

yī lì lăo shŭ shĭ – huài le yī guō tāng
一粒老鼠屎 – 坏了一锅汤
One bit of rat's dung in the soup spoils the whole pot. – A fly in the ointment

dòng dòu fu – nán bàn (bàn)
冻豆腐 – 难办(拌)
Frozen bean curd is difficult to mix. – It means something is hard to deal with. ("办," which means deal with, manage or operate, is a homophone for "拌," which means mix.)

wáng xiăo èr guò nián – yī nián bù rú yī nián
王小二过年 – 一年不如一年
Things get worse with each passing year; things go from bad to worse every year; be on the decline

ròu àn shang de măi mài – jīn jīn jì jiào
肉案上的买卖 – 斤斤计较
Buying and selling at a butcher's shop – Haggle over every ounce; be overly calculating

shā jī gěi hóu kàn – shā yī jĭng băi
杀鸡给猴看 – 杀一儆百
Kill the chicken to frighten the monkey – Punish someone as a warning to others.

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