In this HSK 3-4 story, a crafty fox (狐狸 hú li) escapes being eaten by playing a cunning trick on a mighty tiger (老虎 lǎo hǔ).
The idiom 狐假虎威 translates to “The fox pretends to have the might of a tiger”, and it is used to describe the act of hiding behind powerful friends. When you finish reading the story, you’ll see why.
Source here, I edited to make it a little easier.
Some language stuff
There’s quite a few words and language elements here that appear in other beginner posts, so if you’re a frequent reader, rejoice: you’ll get to use a few things you’ve learned already.
Those include this usage of the character 得. In this story, 得 is used in the phrase 吓得撒腿就跑.
吓 xià – to frighten or scare
得 de – To the point that, to the extent that
撒 sā – to scatter
腿 tuǐ – legs
就 jiù – then
跑 pǎo – run
If you’ve ever watched Loony Tunes, you’ll know exactly what is meant by “scattering legs”. You know when a cartoon character is about to run away, and their legs scramble around frantically before their body starts moving? That’s basically what 撒腿 is describing. So 吓得撒腿就跑 means “frightened to the point that one scrambles to run away”.
We’ve also seen this definition of 原来 yuán lái in a couple of other posts, which sometimes means “originally”, but in this case means “turns out”, as in “Turns out I wasn’t the only one who left early.”
We’ve also covered 胆子, which means “courage”.
But there’s some new vocab as well, notably:
老天爷 lǎo tiān yē – Literally: “Old Sky Grandfather”, a high-ranking Chinese deity which I’ve simply translated here as “God”.
百兽 – bǎi shòu – Literally “one hundred beasts”, but this doesn’t literally refer to 100 animals. It means “all the birds and beasts” in the forest.
Want something easier?
Du Chinese has a big catalog of easy HSK 1 and HSK 2 texts for ultra-beginners. There are quite a few free practice lessons, but CRP readers get 10% off on paid accounts using the discount code CRP10.