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Mythology: 女娲补天 – Nvwa Mends the Heavens

Doesn’t it seem like humankind has a collective memory of some prehistoric natural disaster built into our DNA? So many cultures have ancient myths about close calls with total destruction, be it Noah’s Ark, or the story of Atlantis, or in China’s case, “Nvwa Mends the Heavens” (女娲补天).

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Beginner

Fable: 天堂里的自由 – Freedom in Heaven

A little thrush (画眉 huà méi) trades one cage (笼子 lóng zi) for a bigger one, and doesn’t much like the upgrade. Suitable around HSK 3.

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Intermediate

Fable: 《上帝的铲子》God’s Shovel

A devout Christian explains the benefits of charitable giving to his neighbors. A short, 7-sentence read, but a little dense on new vocab with harder sentence structures (suitable around HSK 4-5).

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Intermediate

Mythology: 《精卫填海》 from the Classic of Mountains and Seas

This one’s pretty cool, guys. Today, we’re going to take look at a short text that’s almost 2000 years old. This passage comes from the 《山海经》shān hǎi jīng, or The Classic of Mountains and Seas, an ancient compendium of mythological beasts that was formalized during the Han Dynasty – that’s around the same time as the Roman Empire.

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Intermediate

Fable: 《沉默的狗》The Silent Dog

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 […]

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Intermediate

Mythology: The Farmer God Shen Nong Tastes All the Plants

A cool introduction to one of the lesser-known deities, Shen Nong 神农 shén nóng, the God of Agriculture (and later called the Bodhisattva of Medicine). This is upper-intermediate reading: expect a lot of new words (mostly relating to plants and Chinese medicine) but intermediate sentence structure, and sentences mostly communicate a complete point.

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Intermediate

Fable: Meng JiangNv Cries the Great Wall Down

Seeing as how I just got back from a trip to the Wall myself, I figured I’d stay on that theme. This traditional and very famous story, called 孟姜女哭长城 mèng jiāng nǚ kū cháng chéng, is set in the Qin Dynasty, and is super sad in the way that only East Asian stories can be […]

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Intermediate

Fable: The Two Lazybones

This is probably the longest text I’ve ever posted. The first few sentences are much more intermediate as we learn new vocabulary words and set up the story, but after that the reading is mostly a dialogue which is very smooth and fairly simple, so press through the first paragraph or two if you can.

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Intermediate

Fable: The Turkey and the Bull

If you’re in need of a fable that demonstrates the dangers of kissing ass, you’re in luck.

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: Wolf Goes Fishing

As vaguely sordid fables go, this one’s fairly tame, resulting only in some humiliatory retribution and a lost tail or two.