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ChineseEdit

prefecture of Qian donkey
trad. (黔驢技窮) 技窮
simp. (黔驴技穷) 技穷
Literally: “The donkey in the prefecture of Qian has exhausted its tricks”.

EtymologyEdit

Based on a fable written by Tang-dynasty writer Liu Zongyuan:

好事龐然大物憖憖大駭遠遁以為往來異能前後:「!」跳踉 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
好事庞然大物慭慭大骇远遁以为往来异能前后:“!”跳踉 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
From: Tang dynasty, Liu Zongyuan, 《三戒·黔之驢》 (The Donkey of Qian)
Qián, 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, 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. bù shèng nù, tí zhī. Hǔ yīn xǐ, jì zhī yuē: “ zhǐ 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.

PronunciationEdit


IdiomEdit

黔驢技窮

  1. (figuratively) to exhaust one's limited abilities

See alsoEdit