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Chinese allegories Lesson 10
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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)

dà hăi lāo zhēn – wú chù xún
大海捞针 – 无处寻
Fish for a needle in the ocean – one can find it nowhere; be next to impossible

shā jī yòng niú dāo – xiăo tí dà zuò
杀鸡用牛刀 – 小题大做
Use a butcher's knife or cleaver to kill a chicken – break a butterfly on the wheel; use a hammer to swat a fly

căo chuán jiè jiàn – măn zài ér guī
草船借箭 – 满载而归
To borrow arrows with thatched boats (It refers to an interesting story back to the Three Kingdoms period in ancient China.) – come back with fruitful results; have a rewarding experience

mén fèng lĭ kàn rén – bă rén kàn biăn le
门缝里看人 – 把人看扁了
Look at somebody through a door crack – belittle somebody

wèng zhōng zhuō biē – shŏu dào ná lái
瓮中捉鳖 – 手到拿来
Catch a turtle in a jar – go after an easy prey; be sure of success; be a walkover

dōng guō xiān sheng jiù láng – hăo xīn bù dé hăo bào
东郭先生救狼 – 好心不得好报
Master Dongguo, the foolish, soft-hearted scholar, had helped to hide a wolf from a hunter, but then narrowly escaped being eaten by it. – One gets no thanks for his/her good intentions; kind-heartedness may not be met with good recompense.

lăo tài tai de guŏ jiăo bù – yòu chòu yòu cháng
老太太的裹脚布 – 又臭又长
An old lady's foot-bindings are long as well as smelly. (Foot binding was a custom practiced on young girls and women in feudal China.) – Something, written or said, is long-winded.

xiā māo pèng shàng sĭ hào zi – (pèng) qiăo le
瞎猫碰上死耗子 – (碰)巧了
A blind cat stumbled on a dead rat. – by sheer luck

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