Episode 17: 杯弓蛇影 Snake In A Cup


This idiom is about a silly man named Du Hsuan and how he found a snake in his cup of wine when he attended the magistrate's party. The magistrate was a man who loved to encourage his guests to drink so Du Hsuan had no choice but to comply. Shortly after, he got sick...really sick. He called the doctor, but the doctor could not properly diagnose his problems. 

The magistrate thought it was a bit strange that Du Hsuan disappeared for a while so he paid the sick man a visit. Du Hsuan INSISTED there was a snake in his cup that night of the dreadful party. The magistrate was curious so he returned back to his mansion and contemplated the scene of the "crime." He poured himself another cup of wine, and saw...to his amazement, the reflection of a bow that was hanging on his wall. That darn reflection was the reason Du Hsuan thought he saw a snake in his cup. 

The magistrate went back to Du Hsuan to reveal that there was never a snake in the cup...it was just the reflection of a bow. And just like that, all of Du Hsuan's "symptoms" disappeared.

Cheeses Christ.

Was he sick or not? How can the fake symptoms seem so real?

MORAL OF THE IDIOM: Our mental state state has a very direct effect on our physical state. 

In other words, the placebo effect is real. So real. Chinese folks will also use this to describe somebody who likes to scare the shiet out of themselves. I give the "Bloody Mary" example because its a dumb game I used to play to scare myself. That's a literal example of me trying to look for a snake in a cup. 

Episode 16: 鹬蚌相争 The Fight Between The Shell And The Snipe

This is a fantastic parable about a clam who wouldn't let go of a snipe, and the snipe refused to let go of the clam. 

The snipe says to the clam: If I don't let go today, and I don't let go tomorrow, you'll get de-hydrated and I'll be seeing a dead clam on the beach tomorrow.

The clam says to the snipe: If I don't let go today, and I don't let go tomorrow. You'll simply starve, and I'll be seeing a dead snipe on the beach tomorrow.

Little do they know, neither of them are winners. They're both about to be dinner. (Oooo that rhymes!)

MORAL OF THE IDIOM: Learn to let go of the things before they consume you.


Episode 15: 盲人摸象 Blind Men And The Elephant

This idiom is a fantastic parable about 5 blind men who all touch only a part of an elephant and insisted they saw its entirety. Be humble. Allow the possibility that you could very well be wrong about something.

 

ORIGINAL IDIOM: 盲人摸象

从前,有四个盲人很想知道大象是什么样子,可他们看不见,只好用手摸。胖盲人先摸到了大象的牙齿。他就说:“我知道了,大象就像一个又大、又粗、又光滑的大萝卜。”高个子盲人摸到的是大象的耳朵。“不对,不对,大象明明是一把大扇子!”他大叫起来。“大象只是根大柱子。”矮个子盲人摸着大象的腿说道。那位年老的盲人却说:“唉,大象哪有那么大,它只不过是一根绳子。”四个盲人不断争吵,都说自己摸到的才是真正大象的样子。而实际上呢?他们一个也没说对。