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Chinese allegories Lesson 12
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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)

sān ge chòu pí jiang – dĭng ge zhū gĕ liàng
三个臭皮匠 – 顶个诸葛亮
Three cobblers with their wits combined equal the mastermind Zhuge Liang – Collective wisdom often proves superior; two heads are better than one.

zhōu yú dă huáng gài – yī ge yuàn dă yī ge yuàn ái
周瑜打黄盖 – 一个愿打,一个愿挨
Zhou Yu (a famous military strategist for the State of Wu during the period of the Three Kingdoms) beats Huang Gai (a military general for the State of Wu during the Three Kingdoms) – The punishment is appropriately given by one and willingly accepted by the other.

liú dé qīng shān zài – bù pà méi chái shāo
留得青山在 – 不怕没柴烧
As long as the green mountains are there, one need not worry about firewood. – Where there is life, there is hope.

shān zhōng wú lăo hǔ – hóu zi chēng dà wáng
山中无老虎 – 猴子称大王
The monkey rules the mountain when there is no tiger. – In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man rules.

wài sheng dă dēng long – zhào jiù (jiù)
外甥打灯笼 – 照旧(舅)
Nephew carrying a lantern to give light to his uncle – same as before (a pun on 照舅 and 照旧, which are homophones in Chinese. "照舅" means "to give light to one's uncle, while "照旧" refers to "same as before".)

lăo hǔ de pì gu – mō bu de
老虎的屁股 – 摸不得
Like a tiger whose backside no one dares to touch – one who won't allow any different opinions; one who is not to be crossed

bàn jīn bā liăng – liăng ge chà bu duō
半斤八两 – 两个差不多
Six of one and half a dozen of the other – There is no difference between the two.

tuō kù zi fàng pì – duō cĭ yī jŭ
脱裤子放屁 – 多此一举
Take off one's trousers before breaking wind – carry coals to Newcastle; make an unnecessary move

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