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画蛇添足 (Huàshétiānzú) Draw a snake and add feet to it

Jul. 27, 2016

画蛇添足 (Huàshétiānzú) Draw a snake and add feet to it

Chinese idiom-画蛇添足
Key Learning Points (Preview):

蛇 (shé): n. snake

画 (huà): v./n. to draw/picture

Chǔguó yǒu gè guìzú.
楚国       有   个 贵族。
During the Chu dynasty, there was an aristocrat.

Jì guò zǔzong yǐhòu, tā bǎ yì hú jìjiǔ shǎng gěi bāngmáng de púrén.
祭 过    祖宗   以后,他 把 一 壶 祭酒 赏     给      帮忙      的   仆人。
After worshiping the ancestors (on one day), he gave a jug of libation to the servants who helped him.

Púrén shāngliang shuō:
仆人     商量          说:
“Wǒmen dōu lái huà shé, shuí xiān huà hǎo, shuí jiù hē zhè hú jiǔ.”
“我们       都   来   画 蛇, 谁   先    画    好, 谁   就 喝 这 壶 酒。”
The servants discussed among themselves  and said: “Every servant would draw a snake on the ground. The man who finished first would drink the wine.”

Yǒu yí gè rén hěn kuài bǎ shé huà hǎo le.
有    一 个 人  很   快    把   蛇  画  好  了。
One man finished very quickly.

Tā duān qǐ jiǔhú zhèng yào hē, kàndào biérén hái zài máng zhe huà shé,
他    端  起 酒壶   正      要 喝,看到     别人    还 在    忙    着    画  蛇,
jiù déyì de shuō: “Wǒ nénggòu zài gěi shé tiān shàng jǐ zhī jiǎo ne!”
就 得意 地   说:“ 我     能够     再  给  蛇    添    上   几 只 脚  呢!”
He was about to drink the wine. However, when he saw others were still busy drawing, he said in triumph: “I can add feet to my snake.”

Kěshì méi děng tā bǎ jiǎo huà wán, lìng yí gè rén yǐjīng bǎ shé huà chéng le.
可是    没   等    他 把 脚  画    完, 另  一 个 人  已经 把 蛇   画    成     了。
However, before he finished drawing the feet, another man finished drawing a snake.

Nà rén bǎ nà hú jiǔ qiǎng guòqù,
那  人  把  那 壶 酒   抢     过去,
shuō: “Shé běnlái shì méiyǒu jiǎo de, nǐ zěnme néng gěi tā tiān shàng jiǎo ne?”
说: “ 蛇   本来   是   没有    脚  的,你 怎么    能   给  它 添     上     脚   呢?”
That man grabbed the jar and said: “Who has ever seen a snake with feet? How do you add feet to it?”

Shuō wán, biàn bǎ hú zhōng de jiǔ hē le xiàqu.
说       完,便    把 壶    中    的 酒 喝 了 下去。
Then, he drank up the wine.

Nàgè gěi shé huà jiǎo de rén zuìzhōng méiyǒu hē dào jiǔ.
那个   给 蛇   画   脚  的  人    最终        没有     喝 到 酒。
The man who added feet to the snake didn’t get the wine in the end.

Key Learning Points:

蛇 (shé): n. snake

Example:

Tā hěn hàipà shé.
她 很   害怕   蛇。
She was afraid of snakes.

画 (huà): v./n. to draw/picture

Examples:

Verb:

A: Nǐ zài huà shénme ne?
A: 你 在  画     什么    呢?
A: What are you drawing?

B: Wǒ zài huà nà zhī māo.
B: 我   在  画  那  只  猫。
B: I’m drawing that cat.

Noun:

Tā bǎ gāng mǎi de huà guà zài le qiángshàng.
他 把  刚     买   的 画     挂  在 了    墙上。
He hangs the picture he just bought on the wall.

You may be interested in more Chinese Idioms related to the Chinese Zodiacs:

Kids’ Chinese Idiom: 亡羊补牢 It’s Never too Late to Take Action (Beginner)

Chinese Idiom: It is Neither a Horse Nor a Tiger. But what is It?

Why 2016 Makes an Ancient Chinese Idiom Contradict Itself?

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