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Kids Chinese Learning: 井底之蛙 (Jǐngdǐzhīwā) The Frog in the Well

Dec. 23, 2015

the frog in the well
The Chinese idiom “井底之蛙 (jǐngdǐzhīwā)” is derived from a story about a frog who lived at the bottom of an unused well. People now use it to refer to people who are short-sighted and arrogant. Read the story below to improve your Chinese learning.

Yì kǒu fèijǐng lǐ zhùzhe yìzhī qīngwā.
一  口 废井  里 住着    一只   青蛙。
There once was a frog who lived in a well.

Yǒu yì tiān, qīngwā zài jǐngbiān pèngdào le yìzhī hǎiguī.
有   一 天, 青蛙     在 井边       碰到      了 一只 海龟。
One day, the frog met a turtle from the sea.

Qīngwā jiù duì hǎiguī kuākǒu shuō:  ”Nǐ kàn wǒ zhù zài zhèlǐ duōme kuàilè hé shūshì,
青蛙      就  对   海龟    夸口     说: “你  看  我  住  在  这里  多么   快乐   和  舒适,
shuí yě bǐbúshàng wǒ, érqiě wǒ háishì zhèlǐ de zhǔrén.”
谁    也  比不上     我,而且 我   还是 这里 的  主人。”
The frog said proudly to the turtle, “I have lived here happily and comfortably for my whole life as the sole resident of this well. No one’s life can compare with mine!”

Hǎiguī tīngle qīngwā de huà, dào zhēn xiǎng jìnqù kànkan.
海龟    听了   青蛙    的  话,倒     真    想     进去   看看。
Dàn tā hái méiyǒu jìnqù,    jiù yǐjīng bèi bànzhù le.
但    它 还  没有     进去,就 已经  被 绊住    了。
Upon hearing these words, the turtle wanted to enter the well to have a look. He stumbled on his way in, which made him reconsider.

Hǎiguī liánmáng hòutuì le liǎngbù, ránhòu duì qīngwā shuō: “Nǐ jiànguò dàhǎi ma?”
海龟    连忙        后退    了  两步, 然后    对   青蛙      说: “你  见过    大海  吗?”
Then the turtle stepped back and asked the frog: “Have you ever seen the sea?”

Qīngwā yáoyáotóu: “Chúle zhèlǐ wǒ méiyǒu qùguò qítā dìfang.”
青蛙       摇摇头:   “除了 这里 我  没有      去过  其他 地方。”
The frog shook its head and said, “I have never been outside of this well.”

“Dàhǎi wúbiānwújì, měilì zhuàngguān, nàlǐ  hái zhùzhe hěnduō qítā de péngyou.
“大海    无边无际, 美丽   壮观,       那里 还  住着     很多    其他 的  朋友。
Zhù zài dàhǎi lǐ,    cáishì zhēn de kuàilè ne!” Hǎiguī zìháo de shuō.
住   在 大海 里, 才是   真    的 快乐  呢!”海龟   自豪  地   说。
“The sea is boundless, beautiful and spectacular. I also have many friends there. I am truly happy with my life in the sea.” the turtle said proudly.

Qīngwā tīngle hǎiguī de yì fān huà,  chījīng de dāi zài nàlǐ,    zài méiyǒu huà kě shuō le.
青蛙      听了   海龟  的 一 番  话, 吃惊  地  呆  在 那里,再 没有     话   可  说   了。
After hearing this, the frog felt embarrassed and somewhat ashamed of his arrogance.

Key Learning Points:

快乐 (kuàilè): adv./adj./n. happily/happy/happiness

Zhège tónghuà de jiéjú shì wángzǐ hé gōngzhǔ kuàilè de shēnghuó zài  yìqǐ.
这个     童话    的 结局 是  王子    和   公主      快乐   地   生活       在  一起。
In the end, the prince and the princess lived happily ever after.

Wǒ juéde hànyǔ xuéxí shì yíjiàn hěn kuàilè de shì.
我   觉得   汉语   学习 是 一件   很  快乐   的  事。
Learning Chinese makes me happy.

Yìjiārén píng’ān jiànkāng cái shì zhēn de kuàilè.
一家人  平安      健康      才  是   真    的  快乐。
True happiness is when your whole family is safe and healthy.

住 (zhù): v. to live

Example:

Mǎ Kè: Nǐ zhù zài nǎlǐ  ne?
马  克:  你  住  在 哪里 呢?
Mark:Where do you live?

Lǐ Lì:  Wǒ zhù zài shìzhōngxīn.
李丽: 我  住   在   市中心。
Lily: I live in the city center.

Vocabulary:

舒适 (shūshì): adv. comfortably

主人 (zhǔrén): n. host

大海 (dàhǎi): n. sea

无边无际 (wúbiānwújì): adj. boundless

朋友 (péngyou): n. friend

自豪 (zìháo): adv. proudly

Further Reading:

Chinese Idiom: 纸上谈兵 (zhǐshàngtánbīng) Armchair Strategy

Chinese Idioms: Be Humble Enough to Consult One’s Inferiors (Elementary)

守株待兔 To Stand by a Tree Stump Waiting for a Hare (Intermediate)

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