Chinese Idiom Story – Hua She Tian Zu

Chinese Idiom Story - Hua She Tian Zu

Today we are reading an Idiom story called 畫蛇添足. This idiom is commonly used in everyday life, and its literal meaning is "adding legs to a snake", or in other words, "ruining a thing by adding something unnecessary".

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很久以前,有一个贵族。他打算送给朋友们一小壶酒,可是,人多酒少,不好均分。谁先喝,是个难题。有一个人建议说:「我们在地上画蛇把,谁先画完,谁就喝。」

大家都表示同意,他们就在地上开始画起蛇来。都想画得又快又好,争取先喝这壶酒。没多久,有一个人已将蛇画完,他抢过酒壶,很高兴,心里想:「这壶酒我可一口气喝完。」他看看别人还在画,他就很得意,随口说:「我还要为我画的这条蛇画上脚。我相信画完脚,他们也还没画完。」

他的蛇脚还没画完,有一个人抢过酒壶,说: 「我画完了!」那位画蛇脚的人说:「我先画完的,因为我补画脚,你才赶上来。」夺过酒壶的人说:「蛇本来没有脚,谁叫你画蛇添足?」然后一口就把酒喝光了。

如今,如果有人做了本来不必做的事,结果不但没有好处,反而有坏处,我们就会说他「画蛇添足」。

" tab_2_title="Traditional Chinese" tab_2_content="

很久以前,有一個貴族。他打算送給朋友們一小壺酒,可是,人多酒少,不好均分。誰先喝,是個難題。有一個人建議說:「我們在地上畫蛇把,誰先畫完,誰就喝。」

大家都表示同意,他們就在地上開始畫起蛇來。都想畫得又快又好,爭取先喝這壺酒。沒多久,有一個人已將蛇畫完,他搶過酒壺,很高興,心裡想:「這壺酒我可一口氣喝完。」他看看別人還在畫,他就很得意,隨口說:「我還要為我畫的這條蛇畫上腳。我相信畫完腳,他們也還沒畫完。」

他的蛇腳還沒畫完,有一個人搶過酒壺,說: 「我畫完了!」那位畫蛇腳的人說:「我先畫完的,因為我補畫腳,你才趕上來。」奪過酒壺的人說:「蛇本來沒有腳,誰叫你畫蛇添足?」然後一口就把酒喝光了。

如今,如果有人做了本來不必做的事,結果不但沒有好處,反而有壞處,我們就會說他「畫蛇添足」。

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English translation:

A long time ago, there was a nobleman. He intends to give his friends a small pot of wine. However, the people are many yet the wine is few, it is hard to divide evenly. Who will be the first one drinking, is a hard question. One person suggested: "Let's draw snakes on the ground. Whoever finishes drawing first will drink."

Everyone agreed, they started to draw snakes on the ground. They all wanted to paint fast and good, striving to drink this pot of wine first. Not long after, a person had finished painting the snake. He grabbed the jug and was very happy. He thought: "I can finish this pot of wine in one go." He looked at other people still painting, he was very proud, casually said "I still want to add legs to the snake that I drew. I believe that after drawing the snake legs, they would have not finished painting yet."

His snake's legs have not been finished yet. One person grabbed the jug and said, "I have finished drawing!" The person who painted the snake's legs said, "I finished drawing first because I added the legs, you just caught up." The man who had won the jug said, "The snake has no legs. Who told you to add legs to a snake?" Then he drank the wine in one bite.

Now, if someone does something that they don't have to do, and then the result is not only unbeneficial but also harmful, we will say that he is "adding legs to a snake."


Special notes:

  • 補 - bǔ - make up (+verb (exam, study, draw, etc))
  • 奪過 - duóguò - snatch over
  • 誰叫你 - shéi jiào nǐ - who ask you (to do something)

The photo is taken from here.   

2 Comments

  1. 1040028
    January 19, 2019

    I love what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and
    reporting! Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

    Reply
    1. Chinese Readers Guild
      January 20, 2019

      thank you for your support! Hope that you learned something from it

      Reply

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