01 凿壁偷光


Kuang Heng was born in a poor family. He liked reading books very much. He needed to work at daytime, so he had to read books during night. But he was too poor to buy a candle.

One day, he found his neighbour had candles, but the light couldn’t go through his room. So he dug a small hole on the wall so that he could use the light to read books. From that day, he read books every night until the light went out.

However, he finished reading all his books and there were no books for him to read. Then he went to a rich man’s house and worked for him without payment. The rich man asked: “ Why don’t you want the money?” Kuang Heng said: “ Because I only want to borrow your books.” The rich man agreed. Kuang Heng read the books one by one.

Finally, he became a great scholar.




02 掩耳盗铃

Once upon a time, there was a thief saw a doorbell hanging on the neighbour’s door. He wanted to steal it.

But he knew that bell would ring as soon as he touched it. And then he would be discovered.

He thought: Only using ears can hear the sound. What if I cover my ears? Then the sound would not be heard anymore.

Whereupon he covered his own ears and tried to steal the bell. However, he was discovered immediately when he touched the bell.




03 邯郸学步

During the Warring States period, a young man lived in Shouling. He always felt that he was not so perfect as he thought. One day, he heard that people in Handan walked in a gracefully way, so he decided to learn to walk there.

One morning, he set off for Handan without telling anyone. Upon arrival at Handan, he was surprised when he saw the situation. Everyone walked in a different but gracefully way, children walking actively, the old walking steady and women walking charmingly. So he made up his mind to learn how the people of the State of Zhao walked in Handan.

No matter how hard he tried, he was unable to learn the gait of the people there. On the contrary, he even forgot completely how he walked in Shouling. In the end, he had no choice but to crawl back to his hometown.






04 囫囵吞枣

Long ago, there was a young man who bought many fruits, like pears and dates.

He sat at the roadside to eat them. An old man saw him and said: “Eating too many pears is good for teeth, but bad for your body.”

The man asked: “How about dates?” The old man answered: “The dates are good for body but bad for teeth.”

The young man thought for a while and said: “I've got a good idea! I can eat pears with teeth and don't swallow them. And I can swallow dates without chewing.”

Then he put a date into his mouth and swallowed it immediately. Unluckily, he was choked by the date.






05 杞人忧天

In the State of Qi, there was a man who was haunted by the fear that the sky might fall.

He was so worried that he could neither eat nor sleep well. His friend said to him: “ The sky is gathered by gas. We are living in the air. It is impossible to fall.”

After hearing this, the man set his fear at ease instantly. His friend was also delightful.



06 同舟共济

In the Spring and Autumn period, the State of Wu and the State of Yue didn’t get along well. They had been fighting against each other for years.

People in each country also didn’t have a good relationship. One day, the people of Wu and the people of Yue happened to be on the same boat to cross a river.

At the beginning, they didn’t say a word with each other. When the boat sailed to the center of the river, a strong wind came. In no time, huge waves hit people’s faces.

It seemed that the boat would sink at any time. Just then, they forgot all the hatred between two countries and began to help each other just like they were family. In the end, they safely got to the river bank under everyone’s effort.





07 班门弄斧

During the Warring States period, there wasa carpenter named Lu Ban. He was good at making woody tools.

One day, a youngman passed by a red gate. He held up an axe with his hand and said: “This axeis really good.

I can make the greatest tools in the world with it.” Hearingthis, people around here all laughed. One person asked: “So, can you make amore beautiful gate than this one?”

“That’s so easy! I was a student of Lu Ban before!Making a similar gate is like a piece of cake!” The young man said arrogantly.

“But the gate was made by Lu Ban!” Allpeople said.





08 杯水车薪

One evening, Zhao Da passed by a tea house when he came back from cutting firewood.

There were a lot of people drinking tea there. He put the firewood outside and walked into the tea house.

When he finished a cup of tea, he found his firewood on fire. Zhao Da shouted: “Oh no! It’s on fire!”

He took a cup of water, ran out of the door and splashed the water on the fire. Other people in the tea house also took their own cups to fight the fire.

However, instead of being put out, the fire burned even harder.





09 自相矛盾

A young man ran a business in the market.

One day, he held up a shield and said proudly: “My shield is very strong.

It can stop any spear in the world.” Then he held up his spear and bragged: “My spear is very sharp. No matter how strong a shield is, my spear can pierce it.”

People all around here laughed when they heard the words of the young man.

One of them asked: “So, according to what you said, your spear is the sharpest. No matter how strong a shield is, your spear can pierce it. And your shield is also the strongest.

No matter how sharp a spear is, it can’t pierce your shield. Well, what will happen if I pierce your shield with your spear?"

The young man was too embarrassed to say anything.






10 按图索骥

In the Spring and Autumn Period, a man named Bo Le is an expert in identifying a good horse.

He put his experiences in this area into his book Physiognomy Of Horses, which illustrated all kinds of horses with rich pictures and words.

His son wanted to learn his skill about identifying a good horse. Then he read the book carefully over and over again.

He thought he had mastered the skill.

Once he saw a toad along the road, whose forehead was in accord with the features of a good horse.

Then he rushed to his father and told him he had found a good steed.

Hearing this, Bo Le didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. He had to reply jokingly: “ This horse does too well in jumping, so it’s hard for us to rein it. ”





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