Idioms Lesson 28 The bird Jingwei tries to fill the sea 精卫填海

once upon a time, the youngest daughter of Yandi (Emperor Yan), the legendary ruler of primitive China, went sailing on the East China Sea. While she was enjoying herself, a strong wind rose and her boat capsized. Just before she was engulfed by the surging waves, her spirit turned into a beautiful bird. Flying over the roaring sea, it cried sadly with the sound "jingwei, jingwei." Thus, people called it "Jingwei."

The bird lived on a mountain near the sea. It hated the sea so much that it decided to fill it up. Every day, it flew to and fro between the mountain and the sea, carrying a twig or a pebble from the mountain and dropping it into the sea.

One day, the roaring sea said to Jingwei, "Poor little bird, stop doing that meaningless thing! You’ll never fill me up." Jingwei replied, "No doubt that I’ll fill you up! I will, even if it takes me thousands of years! I’ll fight on until your doomsday!"

Without taking a rest, the brave little bird kept carrying twigs and pebbles from the mountain to the East China Sea.

From this fable comes the idiom, "The bird Jingwei tries to fill the sea." We use it to describe people who are firm and indomitable and will not stop until they reach their goal.

jīng wèi tián h?i






hán xīn rú k?
Endure all kinds of hardships; suffer hardships and poverty
hán xiào ji? quán
Smile in the underworld – one has nothing to regret in life; die happy

chā qiáng rén yì
Passable; barely satisfactory

chā chì nán fēi
Unable to fly away even if given wings – impossible to escape

wàng zì f?i bó
Belittle oneself; unduly humble oneself; have a sense of inferiority

wàng zì zūn dà
Be overweening or overbearing; be self-important or arrogant; have too high an opinion of oneself

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