Welp, I swore I would never do this again but I found this (and several other short stories) in Hainan Airlines’ in-flight magazine (I’m in Prague!) and couldn’t resist typing it up (as opposed to copy-pasting from an online source). I’ve checked and checked for typos, but I’m not always the best at that, so if you run across one, please comment.

This is one of those reads where the sentence structure is basic and in parts very repetitive, but quite a few advanced words are used – “advanced” only because they’re not used often in casual conversation, like parts of an animal (hooves, horns, etc.) So beginners, you can give this a go if you’re feeling very patient but you’ll be looking up every other word in some paragraphs even though you will be able to predict generally what the next few sentences are about.

Learn to Read Simplified Chinese Characters: Intermediate Exercises for Chinese LearnersI wanted to post a quick comment about the words 一箭一般, because this looks like a typical four-character idiom, but it’s actually two separate words, 一箭 (an arrow) and 一般 (like, as if). Together this means “like an arrow”, or in context of this sentence “to take off (running) like a shot”.

There’s also the phrase 从草丛中闪出. We’re talking here about a dog that is “[darting] out in a flash” (闪出) “from the middle of a cluster of grasses” (从草丛中). We can imagine a dog charging out of a field of tall grass and into a clearing.

The Chinese title is 沉默的狗

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山坡 – shān pō – Hillside, mountain side
窜 – cuàn – To be exiled from, to flee
抵抗 – dǐ kàng – Resist
溜烟 – liū yān – Slip away like smoke, disappear in a puff of smoke
奔 – bēn – To rush, to hurry
换气 – huàn qì – Take a breath (after holding your breath, as with swimming)
怆惶 – chuàng huáng – Sad and scared
剜出 – wān chū – To gouge out
蹄子 – tí zi – Hooves
一拱 – yī gǒng – Nuzzle with snout
唯独 – wéi dú – Only







山下的狗听见羊的呼喊,急忙上坡来,从草丛中闪出,一下咬住了狼的脖子,狼疼得直叫唤, 趁够换气时,怆惶挑走了。

猪说:你怎么不告诉我? 我用嘴一拱,就让它摔下山去。
兔子说:你怎么不告诉我? 我跑得快,可以传信呀。


One nightfall, a sheep was playing alone on the mountainside, when suddenly a wolf emerged from among the trees, wanting to eat the sheep, so the sheep jumped up, using his horns to defend himself with all his might, and loudly called out for his friends to save his life.

The bull looked over from among a cluster of trees, saw there was a wolf, and ran away.

The horse lowered its head and looked, discovered there was a wolf, and slipped away in a puff of smoke.

The mule stopped walking for a moment, discovered there was a wolf, and quietly slipped down the mountain.

The pig passed through there, found out there was a wolf, and rushed down the mountainside.

The rabbit listened a moment, then took off like a shot.

From the bottom of the mountain, the dog heard the sheep’s cry, and ran quickly up the mountainside, came out of the grass in a flash, and in a moment had grabbed the wolf’s neck in his teeth, the wolf cried out in pain, and taking advantage of the dog’s intake of breath, ran away full of sorrow and fear.

[When the sheep] returned home, his friends all came over.

The bull said: Why didn’t you tell me? My horns could have gouged out the wolf’s intestines.
The horse said: Why didn’t you tell me? My hooves could have kicked the wolf’s skull apart.
Donkey said: Why didn’t you tell me? I could have brayed and startled the wolf so as to break his courage.
Pig said: Why didn’t you tell me? I could nuzzle him with my snout, and make him fall down the mountain.
Rabbit said: Why didn’t you tell me? I run fast, I could have spread the word.
In this noisy group, the only one who wasn’t present was the dog.

25 comments to "The Silent Dog"

  1. Reply Luke Callanan says: June 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

    In the first paragraph, ‘羊挑起来’ , should the ‘tiao’ be 跳 rather than 挑? That’s more of a question than a correction, since I’m not familiar with 挑 but 跳, to jump, seems like it would (also) be appropriate in the context. From the numerous definitions of 挑, ‘to raise’ or ‘to stir up’ seem to be the most appropriate fit. Thanks.

  2. Luke is right

  3. Reply Fiona Lopez says: July 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I agree with Gorge, Luke IS right!

  4. I am here for an internship in china and as I have a own blog I know how greatful I are for comments. I just wanted to say, that I am really a big fan of this site. And I just had an idea: Can you post perhaps a part of this book modified for beginners? 致我们终将逝去的青春- it is a film which is really famous right here, but my friens said it is based on a book. I woul be very happy about that!

    • Thanks Pia, very nice of you. My Chinese is not good enough to take an existing work and simplify it – I wouldn’t trust myself to write or edit native-level texts, only read them! But if you post a link to something you’d like me to translate, I can do that.

  5. Wow,impressive. I have no idea how to get there. Just remember I was searching for the chinese social media icon.Btw,the is AWESOME!

  6. Reply The Zhong at TIanyu says: August 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Um, shouldn’t it be “bing da sheng xiang peng you men han jiu ming?” You forgot “han”. Sorry I couln’t type in chinese characters cos my com has some problem

  7. I don’t understand 传心. (can’t find this combination in dictionary)
    You translate this as “spread the word”
    but wouldn’t 传布 be better for this?

  8. I think 够 should be 狗 in …趁够换气时,怆惶挑走了。

  9. Reply William Long says: October 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    The words at the end, translated “Spread the message,” should probably be 传信 。。。

  10. ‘一只羊’ and ‘一只狼’

    The animal classifier in traditional should be:


  11. I’m not sure about this at all (I am also still learning), but shouldn’t the 得 in “狼疼得直叫唤” be 地 instead? Since it’s after an adverb and describes the verb?

  12. My partner and I stumbled over right here various website and believed I ought to examine factors out.

  13. Wow they are perfect “friends” they are. I wonder about the dog, he problebly chased the wolf. Do you know what happend? Problebly not because that’s all the story right? Anyways good story thanks. (still thinking about the dog). :(

  14. This is my favourite story of all the stories I’ve read here. Love it !!

  15. Reply Nicole Garcia says: April 12, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Is there any videos for this story? I need to report this and I would really love it if there is a video.

  16. Being a Chinese native speaker, I am positive that 并大声向朋友们救命 should be 并大声地向朋友喊救命。Thanks。

  17. Hey Kendra,

    I’m not sure if you are still active on this blog, but first of all I want to say thank you for your work! It really makes practising easier, if you have the pop-up function and a translation and it’s much more fun this way.

    One minor comment:
    I think the pig suggests with 我用嘴一拱 that it could have dug a hole in the earth with its snout to make the wolf fall down the mountain.

    Best wishes!

  18. Reply Ngọc Diệp says: October 12, 2019 at 3:37 am

    In this story Who is important personal?

  19. Reply Ngọc Diệp says: October 12, 2019 at 3:42 am

    How many character in this story? 5 or 6 characters in this?

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