Children’s Story: The Little Polar Bear and the Doll Dance Together

Feels like it’s been a hundred years since I threw something up here. Rest assured I carry the shame of an un-updated blog around with me constantly, so – yay, guilt. I’m actually taking intensive classes in Chinese (yet again) to push my reading level higher, hence the lack of posts. I’m more active on here when I’m not studying anywhere else. Anyhoo, this is another one I nabbed from Sina user Zifengling’s personal blog. I tried to convince myself that this was beginner, but I just couldn’t. The words are mostly OK, but there are one too many wibble-wobbly sentence configurations.

This is also a perfect example of a fairly easy story that had one phrase I spent an hour trying to sort out, and a perfect example of the reason I started this blog in the first damn place – you start reading and then one word trips you up and you can’t get past it. 99% sure I figured it out, but don’t hesitate to correct me in the comments if you have intelligence to the contrary. The word was 香草娃娃 xiāng cǎo wá wá. Uh, well, xiāng cǎo means “vanilla” and wá wá is “baby”, so… vanilla baby? Really? In the story, 香草娃娃 is used as a toy’s name, so I thought, maybe there’s a toy called a Vanilla Baby?

UPDATE: Thanks to our native Chinese readers, we sorted out this is probably “straw” or “grass”. So, “straw doll” is probably the most accurate definition we can get – gonna go with that one.

There’s one other very useful phrase here that’s very commonly used in everyday language: 太过分了!Directly translated, this means “Too excessive!”, but this phrase doesn’t usually actually refer to a large amount of things. It’s more often used to refer to a circumstance or someone’s behavior, like, “That is just too much to bear!”. If someone was very mean to you, you could say, “太过分了!” or if an interview process was super rough and you got raked over the coals, also “太过分了!”

Enjoy this one, and consider it good practicing in very colloquial story building.



Show English translation »
The new year had almost arrived, and the Toy Kingdom planned to invite everyone to a grand ball. The day of the dance, the toys were all dancing and laughing, and the whole ballroom was extraordinarily lively. But off in one corner, receiving no attention from anyone, there was an old purple straw doll silently gazing at the dance floor, her eyes were blank and she looked lonely. Just then, a white polar bear in front of her saw this, walked over and asked the straw doll, “Doll, why don’t you go dance?” The straw doll lowered her head sadly, saying in a small voice, “The [other] toys all say I’m too short, they’re not willing to dance with me.” Saying this, she began to cry. Polar Bear was furious when he heard this, and said: “How could they treat you this way? Don’t they understand solidarity? That’s just too much!” Little Bear pulled on the baby doll’s hand, and said: “Doll, don’t be sad. Come on, I’m asking you to dance with me.” The straw doll heard these words, and a brilliant smile immediately lit up her face. She quickly wiped the tears off her face and said happily, “Wonderful! Wonderful!” On the dance floor, Doll and Bear danced and laughed, and passed a lovely evening together.

31 replies on “Children’s Story: The Little Polar Bear and the Doll Dance Together”

This was a really good story and really creative. It’s also about kindness right, quote: never leve anyone behing no matter who it is or what it is. Thanks once again. 😉

I want to learn Mandarin but it looks intimidating. I have heard that there are more than 100,000 Chinese characters to memorize. Some of the words have the same spelling but pronounced differently and they are totally unrelated. I better start studying it now.

Hi My name is Ivy, I’m from China,I’m learning English now, Can we be friend? Do you use some social media? please add me on Skype:ivy1990122 and Wechat: 441020455

I’ve been learning chinese since 1st grade and im in 8th now. In a way how they are the same character but different meaning is similar to the english language. But i will admit i can imagine learning it not as early as i did would be harder, i wish you the best of luck!

Hi Kendra, a few dans ago I just mentioned that there was no update on your blog since a long time. Thanks a lot for the nice story and so happy to be able to continue enjoy reading with your excellent posts!!!

Please keep posting! I just started learning Mandarin a few weeks ago and learning the characters exactly 6 days ago.

This is the best blog ever.

Thanks for the article. I asked someone who knew Chinese what 香草娃娃 is, and she said that it means a doll made out of straw/grass-like materials.

As far as I know wa wa is a “toy doll” not a “baby”. There is a famous drinking song called “Bu Wa Wa” which grown men used to sing, but has been re-purposed for children’s consumption.

I really like your blog and appreciate your work. As a chinese student myself I find it extremely useful. Please, keep posting!

h hah – “old, dependable baby doll” where is the source for this? I am a native Chinese, and I never heard this before. Most of all, I am impressed with your translation. Absolutely stunning!

I think 香草娃娃 is just a doll made from sweet-smelling grass 😀 . The “old, dependable baby doll” meaning seems unreasonable. But anyway, your work is great as usual 😉 . 多謝好朋友!

Who can make a doll with vanilla? :))
Fortunately my Vietnamese has borrowed many Chinese words like Japanese does so I can learn it quite easily 😀

glad to see you’re back posting Kendra! i’m out of school now and have few Chinese friends, so this blog is very helpful for my studys 🙂 🙂 thank you!

well, my opinion is that for ‘太过分了‘ instead of ” too excessive” I think that “outrageous” is a better word to describe it

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