Don’t stop until the goal is reached.

Key Learning Point (Preview):

不到黄河心不死 (bù dào Huánghé xīn bù sǐ): Don’t stop until the goal is reached.

A long time ago, there was a boy who was fond of imitating bird songs. His “模仿 (mófǎng) imitation” was so perfect that even birds were drawn to him.

When the boy was sixteen, he was sold to an officer as a laborer. The officer had a lovely “女儿 (nǚér) daughter;” she liked to listen to birds singing. Gradually, the poor boy and the lovely girl fell in love with each other. But when this was finally “发现 (fāxiàn) discovered” by the girl’s father, he was so angry that he beat the poor boy nearly to death and planned to throw him into “黄河 (Huánghé) the Yellow River.” The girl vomited blood and fainted when she heard the bad news, and amazingly a bird with only one wing on its right side flew out from her heart.

The single-winged bird flew to the Yellow River. When the boy was about to be “扔 (rēng) thrown” into the river, a bird with only one wing on its left side jumped out of the boy’s heart. These two birds joined together and flew into the sky.

People were deeply moved by their love, and they named the bird “比翼鸟 (bǐyìniǎo) two birds of a feather.” Some people said: “真是不到黄河心不死啊!  (Zhēn shì bù dào Huánghé xīn bù sǐ a!) The two poor lovers never gave up until they were together!”

Since then, people began to use “不到黄河心不死 (bú dào Huánghé xīn bù sǐ)” to say that one should not give up until the goal is reached. As time went on, we also started saying “不到黄河不死心 (búdào Huánghé bù sǐ xīn)” which conveys the same meaning.

Culture note:

“黄河 (Huánghé) The Yellow River” is one of the cradles of the Chinese civilization; it is regarded as “母亲河 (mǔqīn hé) the Mother River” of China.

Key Learning Point:

不到黄河心不死 (bú dào Huánghé xīn bù sǐ): Don’t stop until the goal is reached.

“黄 (huáng)” means yellow. For example: “黄金 (huángjīn) gold.” “心 (xīn)” refers to the “heart,” such as “热心 (rèxīn) warm-hearted.” “死 (sǐ)” means “to die.”


Nǚér fēi yào qù Shànghǎi wán.
Mom: 女儿非    要   去      上海      玩。
Our daughter insists on visiting Shanghai.

Ta bú dào Huánghé xīn bù sǐ, nǐ jiù ràng tā qù ba.
Dad: 她 不 到      黄河    心 不死,你就 让 她 去 吧。
She never gives up until she reaches her goal. Let her go.

Wǒ yídìng yào zhuīdào tā.
Jon: 我 一定     要     追到    她!
I must have her as my girlfriend.

Tā yǐjīng jùjué nǐ sāncì le, nǐ zhēn shì bú dào Huánghé xīn bù sǐ  a.
Denny: 她 已经 拒绝 你  三次 了,你  真  是 不   到    黄河      心 不死 啊.
She has already refused you three times; it seems that you will never give  up until you get her.

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