||prefecture of Qian
|Literally: “The donkey in the prefecture of Qian has exhausted its tricks”.
Based on a fable written by Tang-dynasty writer Liu Zongyuan:
黔無驢，有好事者船載以入，至則無可用，放之山下。虎見之，龐然大物也，以為神。蔽林間窺之，稍出近之，憖憖然，莫相知。他日，驢一鳴，虎大駭，遠遁，以為且噬己也，甚恐。然往來視之，覺無異能者，益習其聲，又近出前後，終不敢搏。稍近益狎，蕩倚衝冒。驢不勝怒，蹄之。虎因喜，計之曰：「技止此耳！」因跳踉大㘚，斷其喉，盡其肉，乃去。 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
黔无驴，有好事者船载以入，至则无可用，放之山下。虎见之，庞然大物也，以为神。蔽林间窥之，稍出近之，慭慭然，莫相知。他日，驴一鸣，虎大骇，远遁，以为且噬己也，甚恐。然往来视之，觉无异能者，益习其声，又近出前后，终不敢搏。稍近益狎，荡倚冲冒。驴不胜怒，蹄之。虎因喜，计之曰：“技止此耳！”因跳踉大㘎，断其喉，尽其肉，乃去。 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
- From: Tang dynasty, Liu Zongyuan, 《三戒·黔之驢》 (The Donkey of Qian)
- Qián wú lǘ, yǒu hàoshì zhě chuán zài yǐ rù, zhì zé wú kě yòng, fàng zhī shān xià. Hǔ jiàn zhī, pángrán dàwù yě, yǐ wéi shén. Bì lín jiān kuī zhī, shāo chū jìn zhī, yìnyìn rán, mò xiāng zhī. Tā rì, lǘ yī míng, hǔ dàhài, yuǎndùn, yǐwéi qiě shì jǐ yě, shèn kǒng. Rán wǎnglái shì zhī, jué wú yìnéng zhě, yì xí qí shēng, yòu jìn chū qiánhòu, zhōng bù gǎn bó. Shāo jìn yì xiá, dàng yǐ chōng mào. Lǘ bù shèng nù, tí zhī. Hǔ yīn xǐ, jì zhī yuē: “Jì zhǐ cǐ ěr!” Yīn tiàoliàng dà hǎn, duàn qí hóu, jìn qí ròu, nǎi qù. [Pinyin]
- The prefecture of Qian (now in Chongqing and Guizhou) did not have any donkeys. There was a busybody who had the idea of introducing one, and had it shipped to the region. However, he found that there was not much use of the donkey after it had arrived, so he left the donkey at the foot of a hill.
In time a tiger saw it. Having never seen a donkey before, the tiger was impressed by its size and thought it was a supernatural being, so it hid in the bushes to take a peek. The tiger remained very cautious in coming nearer to the donkey.
One day, the donkey brayed. The terrified tiger fled in horror, fearing that the donkey was going to bite him. However, as the tiger observed further, it did not seem to have any other special powers. Over time, the tiger became accustomed to the bray of the donkey and came closer to the donkey, but did not dare attack it still. As it became closer to the donkey, it flirted with the donkey by touching it, leaning on it, and bumping into it. The donkey was greatly enraged, and gave the tiger a kick. The tiger rejoiced, thinking: “The donkey's tricks are merely these!” Then the tiger roared and pounced on the donkey, gnawed at its neck, and ate the donkey's entire flesh. After that, the tiger went off contented.
- (figuratively) to exhaust one's limited abilities