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Eeps – bad medicine! In this story, the mischievous Monkey – always a trickster figure in Chinese stories – pulls the wool over Little Bear’s eyes. If Little Bear was American, he’d sue the hospital for negligence and rake in millions of baskets of peaches.

Read Chinese: Bedtime Stories in Mandarin Chinese CharactersThough the majority of this text is very basic reading, there are three phrases which jump out at me as being difficult, or words I couldn’t find in basic dictionaries.

理所应当 – lǐ suǒ yīng dāng This phrase means to feel something is well-deserved, that something has been earned through hard work, usually when it actually hasn’t. So I guess that roughly translates to ‘taking a reward for granted’? In this story, Monkey feels that his payment is well-earned or well-deserved. But as readers, we know Monkey doesn’t deserve anything at all – he’s taking that payment for granted when he didn’t really earn it. Consider this phrase in another context:

别人帮助你那是义气,你不能当作是理所应当的。 – “When other people help you it’s in the spirit of self-sacrifice, you shouldn’t consider this something you deserve as a matter of course.”

甜头 – Though this looks like two words, the first meaning “sweet” and the second meaning “head” or “brain”, it’s actually a colloquialism that just means “sweet flavor” or “pleasant taste”.

贪念 – These two characters also seem separate, they don’t appear together in my dictionary, but they’re actually one word. According to Baidu Bai Ke, the Baidu dictionary (a Chinese-language resource for word meanings and derivations), 贪念 tān niàn just means “greedy” (I presume the “念” probably adds the meaning “idea” or “thoughts” here, so 贪念 could be read as “greedy thoughts”).

You can read the original here.

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玩耍 – wán shuǎ – Enjoy oneself, mess around
白大褂子 – bái dà guà zi – White lab coat [lit: Large white unlined upper garment]
看病 – kàn bìng – See a doctor
酬金 – chóu jīn – monetary remuneration, payment
贪念 – tān niàn – Greedy
装模作样 – zhuāng mó zuò yàng – To put on an act
不得而知 – bù dé ér zhī – Can’t be known, unknowable
潜入 – qián rù – To sneak into
干脆 – gān cuì – Simply, straightbforward


猴子去医院玩耍,进了大夫的房间。正好大夫不在,衣服也落在了房间内。

猴子觉得好玩,就穿上了大夫的衣服,也就是我们常见的那种白大褂子。这时候有一只小熊来医院看病。小熊是第一次上医院,并不了解医院的情况。它所知道的,就是大夫们都穿着白大褂子。

小熊提着一篮桃子(这是它准备送给大夫的酬金)来到医院,正好走进猴子所在的房间。小熊不认识猴子,但是它认识那件白大褂子,于是就请猴子给它看病。

猴子本来只是玩耍,并不会看病,但是它看到小熊的篮子后,就起了贪念。于是猴子便装模作样地给小熊看了病,并且理所应当地收下了那篮桃子。至于小熊的病是否给猴子看好了,这一点不得而知

但是猴子却尝到了甜头,以后常常潜入医院,趁大夫不在的时候,穿上大夫的衣服,给病人看病。到后来,猴子干脆给自己也做了一身那样的白大褂子。

唉!我们不知道有多少人是在猴子那里看的病啊!

SHOW ENGLISH TRANSLATION »
Monkey went to the hospital on a lark, and entered the doctor’s room. At that moment, the doctor wasn’t in, and he’d left his [doctor's] clothes in the room.

Monkey thought this would be fun, so he put on the doctor’s clothes, that white lab coat we see so often. Just then a little bear came to the hospital to see the doctor. This was the little bear’s first time at the hospital, and he didn’t know what hospitals were like [lit: didn't know the hospital situation]. All he knew was that doctors wear white lab coats.

The little bear had shown up at the hospital carrying a basket of peaches (this was the payment he had prepared to give to the doctor), and he happened to walk into the room where Monkey was. Little Bear didn’t know Monkey, but he recognized the white lab coat, so he asked Monkey to examine him.

Monkey originally just [intended to] have a bit of fun, but when he saw Little Bear’s basket, he coveted it fiercely. So Monkey put on a big show of examining Little Bear, and accepted his well-earned basket of peaches. As to whether or not Monkey actually cured Little Bear, we will never know.

However, after Monkey tasted that sweetness, he often stole into the hospital, taking advantage of the doctor’s absence, and examined patients. Later, Monkey simply made himself one of those kind of white lab coats.

Ai! We don’t know how many people were examined by Monkey!


39 comments to "The Doctor and the Monkey"

  1. Hi! I just wanted to say “Thanks!” for all your articles, especially the ones for beginners. It’s so hard to find Chinese content for beginners, even in 2013! I can’t believe I’m reading children stories… Yet, I am very grateful for these. So, 谢谢你!

  2. I have the same opinion of jmtahk previous comment. Also a beginner that can with a little dificulty read beginner texts, so that they are very appropiate. Thanks for posting this material.
    Bye bye from Málaga Spain.

  3. Reply Fiona Lopez says: June 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I saw some typos…like 了liao with了 le。

    • Sadly, I don’t have control over what pops up in the translation boxes, that’s a beta script graciously given to me by another developer, so the pop-ups do sometimes make mistakes.

    • Fiona, these are not typos. Annotations are done automatically by a program. 了 can be pronounced either as le or as liǎo depending on the context. That’s why you see both pronunciations on the pop-up.

  4. Reply Fiona Lopez says: June 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Well。。。 maybe next time I will see some more typos。

  5. Hi Kendra,
    I followed a link about Zhajiangmian which led me to your site and exploring further, I found your Chinese reading practice articles. So interesting! Our whole family is taking Chinese lessons via Skype so finding extra material is always exciting. Thank you for all your work!

  6. Thanks so much!! this is really helpful :)

  7. I’m a Vietnamese person. what a good thing you have given me! It is useful for not only practicing reading chinese but also useful for reproducing more inferences about the real life. Thank you very much!

  8. Thank you very much! It was very useful

  9. really helpful, im learning chinese and it is great. I love that you have also put in the translations. :) very happy with this website. Thankyou very much

  10. Reply Lawrence Mumharu says: November 8, 2013 at 3:53 am

    a learning chinese and these stories are helping me ….thanx alot

  11. Reply Lawrence Mumharu says: November 8, 2013 at 3:54 am

    a learning chinese and these stories are helping me ….thanx a lot

  12. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these stories! To find something both beginner and enjoyable is rare. I really appreciate your efforts! Really helping me with reading, vocabhlary, colloquialisms and culture!

  13. Reply Oh Yonghao says: April 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    These are pretty good, I never learned simplified so sometimes it can be tough for me, but I figure the more I read the better acquainted I will become with simplified characters. This is exactly the type of site I was looking for. I also hope to find some good books to read, or news articles, or something to supplement my vocabulary. Keep up the good work!

  14. Thank you very much about all of stories….

  15. Best blog for practicing Chinese reading skills… Best blog ever!

  16. thx so much

  17. hope that monkey don’t were a doctor.

  18. Reply Kid ??? Who says: January 2, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Can you add pinyin? P.S(I don’t know some of the words)

  19. Many thanks for your postings!!! Started learning with the mokney story :) But can’t wait till I start learning the rest :) .

  20. hey.

    I have one question on this text: are you sure the second sentence shouldn’t be “正好大夫不在,衣服也落了在房间内。”, with 了 and 在 in this order? I can’t find a compound verb like “落在” anywhere, so this is a bit confusing to me.

    thank you for all your materials. you’re great.

  21. Reply Bob the Builder says: March 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Not enough tentacles 0/10
    -IGN

  22. Reply hWAtHornYGuRl69 says: March 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Not enough dicks msg me if u hrny

  23. Funny little story. Thanks.

  24. Reply Scarlett Chew says: June 13, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Gee, I like this story. I will try to retell it to my brothers. They will like it too. It is a very funny monkey.

  25. Reply Scarlett Chew says: June 13, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I wish i can send a photo

  26. So helpful. Thanks a lot

  27. Wow I hope no one was like actualy sick or something like a broken leg. So at the end of the story when it says monkey got his own “white lab clothes, does it mean he was already grown up or is he still a kid? Anyhow thanks again. P.S. I’ve read every single one before this one and there all great story’s so THANKS ONCE AGAIN!!!!! whoooo!! :) => =]

  28. Really good story.

  29. Reply Scarlett Chew says: December 11, 2015 at 4:16 am

    love the story

  30. Reply Random Chinese Beginer says: July 27, 2016 at 10:37 am

    你好,我很喜欢你的故事!
    我在中国写了这个,因为我练习写作。

  31. Reply Someone Special says: October 13, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Thank you for the good story! It definitely helps my Chinese writing skills! (I’m writing them down to improve my handwriting)

    Where are you getting those stories from anyway?

  32. Reply marshall eminem says: March 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    nice

  33. Hi there, all is going nicely here and ofcourse every one
    is sharing data, that’s in fact fine, keep up writing.


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