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Shu Neng Sheng Qiao

 

熟能生巧 (shú néng shēng qiǎo)

Shu Neng Sheng Qiao

 

Chen Yau-tz, of the Sung dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝), was a very talented archer. He hit the bull’s eye every time, and so everyone called him “The Magic Archer.” Chen Yau-tz felt that he was the best archer in the world, and so he was very proud. One day, as Chen was shooting arrows, a man selling oil passed by, and stood watching him for a long time. “You know something about archery?” Chen Yau-tz asked the man. “Look at how well I shoot!” The man replied, “That’s nothing, all it takes is practice.” This made Chen Yau-tz very angry, and he asked, “Dare you underestimate my skill as an archer?” Saying nothing, the man took a bottlenecked gourd, placed it on the ground, and put a coin with a square hole in the center over the top. He poured toil from a wooden ladle drop-by-drop into the gourd, without spilling a single drop on the coin. The man then turned to Chen Yau-tz and said, “That was also nothing. It’s just a matter of practice makes perfect.” Thus, the meaning of this idiom is that skill comes from repeated practice.

 

陈尧咨是宋朝人,他很会射箭,每次都能射到红心,所以大家称他神箭手,他认为世界上没有人能比得上他,因此非常骄傲。有一天,他正在射箭,有一个卖油的走过来,放下担子,斜着眼看他射箭,看了好久,没说甚么,只是微微地点头。陈尧咨看到卖油的样子,心里有点儿不高兴,就问卖油的说:“你也懂得射箭吗?看我射得多准!”卖油的说:“这没甚么,只是手熟罢了。”陈尧咨听了,认为卖 油的看不起他,就很生气地大声说:“你怎么敢轻视我的箭术呢?”卖油的不说一句话,随手拿出一个葫芦放在地上,用一个方孔的铜钱盖在葫芦口上慢慢地用木杓 子装满了油滴下去,只见油从钱孔中滴进去,可是铜钱上面一点儿油也没有沾上,这时卖油的才说:“我这也没甚么,只是熟能生巧罢了。”