This story is so popular in China that everybody knows it. Now it is well-known in the world ever since it was adapted into a Disney movie. Mulan was originally considered the role model of filial piety as she was enlisted in the place of her old father, but in the present medernized version, she is the convincing good example of independent adventurous female.
古时候有一个女孩子叫木兰， 她从小跟着父亲读书写字，平时帮母亲做家务，织布。她还特别喜欢骑马射箭，练得一身好武艺。有一天，父亲很着急地告诉她，马上要打仗了，每户人家都必须有一个人去当兵。但是因为木兰没有哥哥，弟弟还太小，看来父亲只能自己去了。木兰一边干活， 一边想着父亲说的话。 她想：“父亲已经很老了，身体又不好，怎么能离开家去当兵呢？”木兰想来想去，决定自己穿上男人的衣服代替父亲去当兵。
十二年过去了，仗打赢了，皇帝要奖励她，但是木兰既不要做官，也不要财物，只想要一匹快马，好让她立刻回家，皇帝高兴地派人送她回家。木兰回到家后，脱下打仗穿的衣服，换上女人穿的衣服，梳好头发，出来向送她回来的人道谢，那些人看了都非常惊讶。没想到一起打仗的战友竟是一位漂亮的姑娘。 木兰说： “两只兔子在地上一起跑，谁能看得出哪个是雄的，哪个是雌的呢？”
gu3shi2hou you3 yi2ge4 nu3hai2zi jiao4 mu4lan2, ta1 cong2xiao3 geng1zhe fu4qin1 du2shu1 xie3zi4, ping2shi2 bang1 mu3qin zuo4jia1wu4, zhi1bu4. ta1 hai2 te4bie2 xi3huan1 qi2ma3, she4jian4, lian4de2 yi4shen1 hao3 wu3yi4. you3yi4tian1, fu4qin hen3 zhao1ji2de gao4su4 ta1, ma3shang4 yao4 da3zhang4le, mei3hu4 ren2jia1 dou1 bi4xu1 you3 yi2ge4 ren2 qu4 dang1bing1. dan4shi4 yin1wei4 mu4lan2 mei2you3 ge1ge, di4di hai2 tai4xiao3, kan4lai2 fu4qin zhi3neng2 zi4ji3 qu4le.
mu4lan2 yi4bian1 gan4huo2, yi4bian1 xiang3zhe fu4qin shuo1de hua4. ta1xiang3: "fu4qin yi3jing1 hen3lao3le, shen1ti3 you4 bu4hao3, zen3me neng2 li2kai1 jia1 qu4 dang1bing1 ne? " mu4lan2 xiang3lai2xiang3qu4, jue2ding4 zi4ji3 chuan1shang4 nan2ren2de yi1fu2 dai4ti4 fu4qin qu4 dang1bing1.
mu4lan2 dang1le bing1 yi3hou4, he2 nan2bing1 yi2yang4, nan2bing1 neng2zuo4de, ta1 ye3 neng2 zuo4, er2qie3 bi3 nan2bing1 zuo4de geng4hao3. da4jia1 dou1 yi3wei2 ta1 shi4 nan2de. ta1 you4 cong1ming2 you4 yong3gan3, chang2chang2 da3 sheng4zhang4. ta1de zhan4you3 dou1 hen3 jing4pei4 ta1.
shi2er4nian2 guo4qu4le, zhang4 da3ying2le, huang2di4 yao4 jiang3li4 ta1, dan4shi4 mu4lan2 ji4 bu2yao4 zuo4guan1, ye3 bu2yao4 cai2wu4, zhi2xiang3 yao4 yi4pi1 kuai4ma3, hao3rang4ta1 li4ke4 hui2jia1. huang2di4 gao1xing4de pai4ren2 song4 ta1 hui2jia1. mu4lan2 hui2dao4 jia1 hou4, tuo1xia4 da3zhang4 chuan1de yi1fu2, huan4shang4 nv3ren2 chuan1de yi1fu2, shu1hao3 tou2fa, chu1lai2 xiang4 song4 ta1 hui2lai2de ren2 dao4xie4, na4xie1ren2 kan4le dou1 fei1chang2 jing1ya4. mei2xiang3dao4 yi1qi3 da3zhang4de zhan4you3 jing4shi4 yi1wei4 piao4liang4 de gu1niang2. mu4lan2 shuo: " liang3zhi1 tu4zi zai4 di4shang4 yi1qi3 pao3, shei2 neng2 kan4dechu1 na3ge4 shi4 xiong2de, na3ge4 shi4 ci1de ne?"
In the past, there was a girl named Mulan. Since she was little, she learned to read and write after her father. In normal time, she would help her mother with house chores and weaving. She was expecially fond of horse riding and archery. She had gained the great skills of martial arts. One day, her father very worriedly told her that the war was about to start and that one male from every family must be enlisted. But since Mulan had no elder brother, and her younger brother was too young, it seemed that the father had to join the army. Mulan was thinking about her father's words as she worked. She thought," father is old already, and is also in poor health. How could he serve as a soldier outside of home?" She thought and thought. Finally she made up her mind to change into man's clothing and join the army in the place of her father.
After Mulan became a soldier, she could do whatever the other male soldiers would do, just like the other male soldiers, and could do even better than them. Everybody thought she was male. She was both smart and brave, and often won the battle. All her friends respected her very much.
Twelve years passed, and there was the victory. The emperor wanted to reward her. But Mulan wanted neither high position in the court nor jewelry and money. What she wanted was a fast horse so that she could get home right away. The emperor was happy to send her home accompanied by other soldiers. When Mulan got home, she took off her fighting robes and changed into women clothing. After she did her hair, she came out to say thank you to the men who accompanied her home. The men were very surprised to see her. The friend who fought together with them was unexpectedly a beautiful girl. Mulan said: "When two rabbits are running fast on the ground, who can tell which one is male and which one is female?"
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
只许当官的放火， 不许百姓点灯The Officials are allowed to Set Fires, while the People are forbidden to Light up Lights
"fang4huo3" means "to set ... on fire, to commit arson". According to Chinese tradition, it is not respectful to call the parents or other older relatives by their names.
It's one of the customs to make and light up lanterns during the Spring Festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year. On the fifteenth day of the New Year (also called the Lantern Festival (yuan2xiao1jie2)), the celebration reaches the climax. There is a lantern show in every neighborhood. Families come out to admire the lanterns of all shapes and to get prizes for guessing the riddles pasted to lanterns.
很久以前有一个地方官，他的名字叫田登， 可是他不许别人叫他的名字。他觉得别人叫他的名字就是对他不尊敬。 因为他的名字“登”和“灯”念起来一样，所以大家都不能说“灯”， 只能说“火”， 也不能说“点灯”，因为“点灯”听起来好像他的名字“田登”， 只能说“放火”。
元宵节的时候，家家户户都要点灯，田登就通知大家“要放火三日庆祝”。因为他是那个地方最大的官， 所以老百姓都没有办法。 大家生气地说： “只许当官的放火，不许百姓点灯！”
hen3jiu3 yi3qian2 you3 yi2ge4 di4fang1guan1, ta1de ming2zi4 jiao4 tian2deng1, ke3shi4 ta1 bu4xu3 bie2ren2 jiao4 ta1de ming2zi4. ta1 jue2de bie2ren2 jiao4 ta1de ming2zi4 jiu4shi4 dui4 ta1de bu4 zun1jing4. yin1wei4 ta1de ming2zi4 "deng1" he2 "deng1" nian4 qi3lai2 yi2yang4, suo3yi3 da4jia1 dou1 bu4neng2 shuo1 "deng1", zhi3neng2 shuo1 "huo3", ye3 bu4neng2 shuo1 "dian3deng1", yin1wei4 "dian3deng1 " ting1qi3lai2 hao3xiang4 ta1de ming2zi4 "tian2deng1", zhi3neng2 shuo1 "fang4huo3".
yuan2xiao1jie2 deshi2hou4, jia1jia1hu4hu4 dou1 yao4 dian3deng1, tian2deng1 jiu4 tong1zhi1 da4jia1 "yao4 fang4huo3 san1ri4 qing4zhu4". yin1wei4 ta1 shi4 na4ge4 di4fang1 zui4da4de guan1, suo3yi3 lao3bai3xing4 dou1 mei2you3 ban4fa3. da4jia1 sheng1qi4de shuo1: "zhi3xu3 dang1guan1de fang4huo3, bu4xu3 bai3xing4 dian3deng1!"
Long long time ago there was a local government official called Tian Deng. However, he didn't allow the others to call him by his names because he thought it was not respectful to him if his named was called. Since his first name "deng" sounds the same as "deng"( lights), so people were not allowed to say "lights", and could only say "fire" instead. Neither were they allowed to say "to light up lights", because "dian deng( to light up lights)" sounds similar to his full name "tian deng". Instead they could only say "set fire".
When it was time of the Lantern Festival, all the families would light up the lanterns. So Tian Deng made an announcement that " everybody should celebrate by setting fires for three days." Because he was the highest local official, the people could do anything about that. They commented angrily: "The officials are allowed to set fires, while the people are forbidden to light up lights!"
Friday, October 14, 2011
This idiom is originally known as "Asking Foxes for Their Skin", but since Fox (狐, hú) and Tiger (虎, hǔ) in Chinese have very similar pronunciations, it gradually changed into "Asking Tigers for Their Skin". It refers to requesting somebody to act against his own interests.