Idioms Involving Horses: 走马观花 (zǒu mǎ guān huā)


Since 2014 is the Year of the horse, we wanted to introduce some Chinese idioms that involve horses. One famous idiom, 走马观花 (zǒu mǎ guān huā) literally means to gaze at flowers while on horseback. It is used to describe a fleeting glance or cursory observation in passing. This idiom is actually based on a cute story that I want to share with you today. Once upon a time, there was a lame man named 贵良 (Guì-liáng) who was looking for a wife. He asked his friend, 华翰 (Huá-hàn) to be a matchmaker and introduce him to a woman of grace and beauty. 华翰 (Huá-hàn) happened to know a beautiful girl named 叶青 (Yè-qīng), who was also looking for her Mr. Right. The only problem was that she had a crooked nose. "They would be a match made in heaven," 华翰 (Huá-hàn) thought. "I found the perfect girl for you!" 华翰 (Huá-hàn) excitedly told 贵良 (Guì-liáng). "Remember to put on your best suit and wait patiently on horseback by the river tomorrow." Then 华翰 (Huá-hàn) ran and asked 叶青 (Yè-qīng) to hold a flower in her hand and pretend to smell at it by the river tomorrow. The next day, 贵良 (Guì-liáng) rode his horse by the river and saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen standing by the riverside enjoying the aroma of the flower in the hand. At the same time, 叶青 (Yè-qīng) raised her head slightly and saw this handsome man on his horse - her prince charming. The two fell in love immediately and decided to get marry. On their wedding night, 贵良 (Guì-liáng) slowly lifted the bridal veil with excitement and fell to see the ugly nose of his bride. 叶青 (Yè-qīng) retorted, "You're a cripple!" The two remembered the scene of their first encounter where they 走马观花 and laughed, "We are so made for each other!" Although, there is a happy ending for the story, remember to not 走马观花 when you learn Chinese!

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