Chinese idioms are an important part of Chinese language.
Many Chinese idioms are from a history story.
Today, I will introduce a famous Chinese idiom “塞翁失马“ (sài wēng shī mǎ). The short translation will be “Blessing in disguise”.
Below is the story. I will put the story in the original form which is in 古文 (ancient Chinese) and also in 白话文 (modern Chinese), and then use Google translation to get the Pin Yin and English.
Google Pin Yin:
Jìn sāi shàng zhī rén, yǒu shàn shù zhě, mǎ wúdí wáng ér rù hú. Rén jiē diào zhī, qí fù yuē:“Cǐ hé jù bù wéi fú hū?” Jū shù yuè, qí mǎ jiāng hú jùnmǎ ér guī. Rén jiē hè zhī, qí fù yuē:“Cǐ hé jù bùnéng wéi huò hū?” Jiā fùliáng mǎ, qí zi hǎo qí, duò ér zhé qí bì. Rén jiē diào zhī, qí fù yuē:“Cǐ hé jù bù wéi fú hū?” Jū yī nián, hú réndà rù sāi, dīng zhuàng zhě yǐn xián ér zhàn. Jìn sè zhī rén, sǐzhě shíjiǔ. Cǐ dú yǐ bǒ zhī gù, fùzǐ xiāng bǎo.- Huáinán zi
People close to the fortress, who have good skills, Ma died invincibly and entered the Hu. Everyone hangs it, and his father said: "Why is this not a blessing?" After a few months, his horse returned Hu Jun. Everyone congratulates, and his father said: "Why can't this be a scourge?" A family-rich horse, whose son is good to ride, fell into his hair. Everyone hangs it, and his father said: "Isn't this a blessing?" After one year of residence, the Hu Renda entered the Cypriot, and Ding Zhuang and Zhuang Zhuang fought. People close to the fortress, nineteen dead. For the sole reason of lameness, father and son protect each other. -Huainanzi
Googel Pin Yin
Kàojìn biānsài jūzhù de rén zhōng, yǒu wèi shàncháng suànguà de rén. Yīcì, tā de mǎ wúyuán wúgù pǎo dàole hú rén de zhùdì. Rénmen dōu wèi cǐ lái kuānwèi tā. Nà lǎorén quèshuō:“Zhè zěnme jiù bù huì shì yī zhǒng fúqi ne?”Guòle jǐ gè yuè, nà pǐ shī mǎ dàizhe hú rén de liáng mǎ huíláile. Rénmen dōu qián lái zhùhè tā. Nà lǎorén yòu shuō:“Zhè zěnme jiù bùnéng shì yī zhǒng zāihuò ne?” Suànguà rén de jiāzhōng yǒu hěnduō hǎo mǎ, tā de érzi àihào qímǎ, jiéguǒ cóng mǎshàng diào xiàlái shuāi duànle dàtuǐ. Rénmen dōu qián lái wèiwèn tā. Nà lǎorén shuō:“Zhè zěnme jiù bùnéng biàn wéi yī jiàn fú shì ne?”Guòle yī nián, hú rén dàjǔ rùqīn biānsài, jiànzhuàng nánzǐ dōu ná qǐ wǔqì qù zuòzhàn. Biānsài fùjìn de rén, sǐwáng de zhànle shí fēn zhī jiǔ. Zhège rén de érzi zhǐshì yīnwèi tuǐ qué de yuángù miǎn yú zhēngzhàn, fùzǐ liǎ yītóng bǎoquánle xìngmìng.
Among the people living near the frontier, there is a person who is good at guessing the skill of the lucky man. Once, his horse ran to the place of the Hu people for no reason. People came to comfort him for this. But the old man said, "Why wouldn't this be a blessing?" After a few months, the lost horse returned with the Hu's good horse. People came to congratulate him. The old man said again, "Why can't this be a disaster?" There are many good horses in the house of the man who counts, and his son likes to ride horses. As a result, he fell off and immediately broke his thigh. People came to comfort him. The old man said, "Why can't this be a blessing?" After a year, the Hu people invaded the frontier massively, and the strong men all took up arms to fight. Nine tenths of the people near the frontiers died. This man was saved from fighting because of lameness, and the father and son saved their lives together.
- 古文 （Gǔwén）also called 文言文（Wén yán wén）in Chinese means ancient Chinese, or classic Chinese (literature). It started from 770 BC and was reformed in 1919 to become 白话文 (Bái huà wén) Modern Chinese (vernacular Chinese). If you are interested in knowing more, please click the hyperlink above.
- While Google translation can translate Modern Chinese much better these days, it still cannot translate ancient Chinese very well.
- Ancient Chinese is very beautiful because of its simplicity and rhyme. It is still taught in China from middle school, but not many people can read with ease, fewer people can write ancient Chinese. If you want to learn high-level Chinese, you need to learn how to read ancient Chinese literature.
This idiom is often used to encorage people who had a “bad luck”.
No matter what challeng you are facing now, think about this idiom.
For examle, if you are stressed by the lockdown, think about learning a new language to open a new world for you.
Bad luck? Good luck? We’ll see.
Want to listen this Chinese idiom, watch below video on YouTube。