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Chinese allegories Lesson 16
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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)

jià chu qu de nǚ ér pō chu qu de shuĭ – shōu bù huí lái
嫁出去的女儿,泼出去的水 – 收不回来
A married daughter is like spilt water. – A married daughter is no longer a member of the family. Figuratively, it means something cannot be taken back.

hóu zi lāo yuè liang – kōng máng yī chăng
猴子捞月亮 – 空忙一场
Monkeys fish for the moon in the water. – make vain efforts; be busy for nothing

tù zi wĕi ba – cháng bu liăo
兔子尾巴 – 长不了
The tail of a rabbit can't be long. – Something won't last long; Somebody's days are numbered.

lài há ma dă hā qiàn – hăo dà de kŏu qi
癞蛤蟆打哈欠 – 好大的口气
A toad yawns. – a gaping mouth (figuratively, talking big); it's often cited to ridicule a boastful person.

féi zào pào – bù gōng zì pò
肥皂泡 – 不攻自破
Soap bubble – burst by itself; collapse by itself

jiăo zi pò pí – lòu le xiàn
饺子破皮 – 露了馅
The dumping wrapper is broken. – Filling or stuffing is out. Figuratively, it means "to give the game away".

má què suī xiăo – wǔ zàng jù quán
麻雀虽小 – 五脏俱全
Small as a sparrow is, it has all the vital organs. – small but complete

yŏu jiè yŏu huán – zài jiè bù nán
有借有还 – 再借不难
Timely return of a loan makes it easier to borrow a second time. – Keeping one's promise is necessary if one wants to have smooth dealings with others.

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