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老马识途 An Old Horse Knows the Way (Advanced)

Oct. 22, 2010

Chinese Language Story: 老马识途 (lǎomǎshítú) An Old Horse Knows the Way (Advanced)
 

 

Listen to the whole story

 

Key Learning Points (Preview):
凯旋而归 (kǎixuán'érguī): v. to return triumphant

 

毫不犹豫 (háobùyóuyù): adv. without hesitation

 

The Chinese idiom "老马识途 (lǎomǎshítú)" literally means that an old horse knows the way. Presently, it refers to the value of experience. Read the Chinese language story below and you will know where the idiom comes from.

Gōngyuán qián liùliùsān nián, Qí Huángōng yìng Yānguó de yāoqiú, chū bīng gōngdǎ rùqīn
公元            前     663         年,齐桓公           应     燕国      的   要求,出 兵       攻打   入侵
Yānguó de Shānróng, xiàngguó Guǎn Zhòng hé dàfu Xí Péng suítóng qiánwǎng.
燕国     的   山戎,       相国         管         仲     和  大夫 隰 朋      随同      前往。

 

In 663 B.C., Qi Huangong was asked by Yanguo to fight against the invaders of Shanrong, a strong minority from northern China. The Premier Guan Zhong and the senior official Xi Peng accompanied him.

Qíjūn shì chūntiān chūzhēng de, dào kǎixuán'érguī shí yǐ shì dōngtiān, cǎomù biànle yàng,
齐军   是   春天         出征       的,到      凯旋而归     时  已 是  冬天,    草木   变了    样,
dàjūn zài shāngǔ lǐ zhǎo bú dào huílái de lù.
大军 在   山谷    里 找   不    到   回来 的路。

 

The Qi army had gone to fight in spring and returned triumphant in winter. Due to the change of the seasons, the army couldn't find its way out of the valley.

Shíjiān yì cháng, jūnduì de jǐyǎng fāshēng kùnnan, rúguǒ zài bù zhǎo dào chūlù,
时间     一 长,   军队    的   给养     发生       困难, 如果   再  不     找  到  出路,
dàjūn jiù huì kùn sǐ zài zhèlǐ.
大军   就 会 困 死 在 这里。

 

Transporting the supplies would become too difficult. If they did not find a way out of the valley soon, the army would not be able to survive.

Xiàngguó Guǎn Zhòng xiǎngle yí gè zhǔyì: jìrán gǒu líjiā hěn yuǎn yě néng xún huí jiā qù,
相国           管       仲       想了  一  个 主意:既然 狗  离家 很  远     也  能     寻   回  家  去,
nàme jūn zhōng de lǎomǎ yě yīnggāi huì yǒu rènshi lùtú de běnlǐng.
那么   军   中      的 老马    也   应该    会  有    认识   路途的 本领。

 

The Premier Guan Zhong had an idea: dogs can always find their way back home even if they are very far away. Should not the old horses in the army be able to do so too?

Yúshì Guǎn Zhòng lìjí tiāo chū jǐ pǐ lǎomǎ,
于是    管      仲     立即挑   出 几 匹 老马,
ràng tāmen zài dàjūn de zuì qiánmian zìyóu xíngzǒu.
让     它们   在 大军  的   最    前面        自由    行走。

 

Guan Zhong immediately chose several old horses and allowed them to walk in front freely.

Yě zhēn qíguài, zhèxiē lǎomǎ dōu háobùyóuyù de cháo yí gè fāngxiàng xíngjìn.
也 真     奇怪, 这些    老马     都    毫不犹豫     地 朝    一  个   方向        行进。

 

It was quite strange to see these old horses all, without hesitation, walking in the same direction.

Dàjūn jiù jǐn gēn zhe tāmen, zuìhòu zhōngyú zǒuchūle shāngǔ,
大军    就紧  跟  着   它们, 最后      终于      走出了     山谷,
zhǎodàole huí Qíguó de dàlù.
找到了      回   齐国  的 大路。

 

The army followed the old horses and was finally able to walk out of the valley, finding their way back home.

Key Learning Points:

凯旋而归 (kǎixuán'érguī): v. to return triumphant

 

Actually, in the Chinese language, the words "凯旋 (kǎixuán)" can mean triumph. But people always use "凯旋而归 (kǎixuánérguī)" to express this meaning.

Example:
Jīnnián de Bālí Shìjǐnsài zhōng, Zhōngguó yǔmáoqiú duì kǎixuán'érguī,
今年     的 巴黎 世锦赛    中,   中国          羽毛球      队      凯旋而归,
bāolǎnle wǔ méi jīnpái.
包揽了    五  枚   金牌。

 

China's badminton team returned triumphant with five gold medals in the Paris World Championships this year.

毫不犹豫 (háobùyóuyù): adv. without hesitation

 

Example:
Suīrán huì miànlín hěn duō kùnnan,
虽然     会  面临      很  多     困难,
dàn tā hái shì háobùyóuyù de jiēshòule zhè xiàng rènwù.
但   他 还 是   毫不犹豫   地     接受了     这   项      任务。

 

He accepted the task without hesitation even though he would face lots of difficulties.

Chinese Language Vocabulary:
立即 (lìjí): adv. immediately

 

奇怪 (qíguài): adj. strange

 

接受 (jiēshòu): v. to accept

 

Learn more Chinese language stories:
Chinese language story: 画饼充饥 Drawing Pancakes to Stave off Hunger
Chinese language story: 矛和盾的故事 The Story of Spear and Shield
Chinese language story: 爱屋及乌 Love Me, Love My Dog

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