This story is for children but is by no means for beginners. There are some phrases that are not often seen and a couple of useful idioms to be learnt. We all know that foxes are sly and clever, the Chinese also have this idea and fox (狐狸) can be used to describe a sly person.
I have included a voice recording of this story which you can listen to along with some comprehension questions if you feel like testing yourself (and who doesn’t love to be tested?). Have fun!
狐假虎威 – The name of the story and the moral of it too. The fox is using the tiger’s might to his own advantage. It can be said about a person who has powerful friends in high places and uses them for their own benefit and to scare people.
装出 – to assume an air of. For example, 装出一副公正的样子 is to assume a righteous air (or righteous manner).
得意洋洋 – to be very proud. Another idiom for the collection.
紧跟 – 紧 meaning ‘tight’ and 跟 meaning with or follow, Put together can mean to follow closely. It can also be used in terms of keeping up with current circumstances such as 紧跟形势。
The Fox and the Tiger
(Hover over the Chinese for pinyin)
Below is the voice recording of this passage. The reader is quite fast but the words are very clear. Pay attention to how the characters are grouped together and where the pauses are.
There are not too many complex sentences in this Chinese passage but there are some that contain useful grammar.
Chinese can use the structure 又。。。又。。。 to apply two adjectives. The sentence above can be translated to “(The tiger) thought this chap was small and thin”.
Chinese uses the character 被 to express passive voice. The sentence can be translated to “They were scared and scattered in every direction”.
This uses the character 仗 as “depend”. It can be translated to “The fox was relying on the tiger’s presence (to scare the animals), but the tiger thought that the animals were being scared by the fox”.
Answer the following questions (in Chinese!) in the comments below.
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As always, I hope you enjoyed reading this short story. If you understood it all then great! If you want some help or if you noticed a typo then comment below and let me know. If you know any friends who are studying Chinese then please share the website with them unless you feel like taking all the reading gains for yourself!