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熟能生巧 【shú néng shēng qiǎo】

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Chen Yaozi was a master in archery in Song Dynasty and was proud of it. One day an oil salesman* passed by when Chen was practising archery in his yard, and the oil seller stopped and watched, merely nodding his head when Chen frequently hit the bull’s eye. 

Chen asked him, “Do you know archery? Am I not good at archery?” The oil seller said, “It’s nothing special but merely because you’ve practised a lot.” Chen said angrily, “How dare you look down on my skill!” The oil seller said, “By my skill of pouring oil.” He put a Calabash bottle on the ground and covered it with a cash*. He used a spoon to steadily pour the oil into the calabash bottle without wetting the coin. He said, “There is nothing special about me, it’s just because I’ve practised a lot.” Chen smiled and let him go.



1.  Oil salesman: Sole proprietor who sells oil for cooking in ancient China. They usually carry two large wooden containers that are filled with oil and walk on the street to find buyers. 

2.  Cash: Cash is a type of coin in ancient China with a hole around 0.8 cm wide inside.

[Definition] Practice makes perfect. 


If you are interested in Chinese folk tales or ghosts stories, have a look at: https://chinesestoriesfolktales.quora.com 

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