Skip to main content

Handan Walks

You might know the Chinese idiom ying wu xue she ( parrot talks), might also know the story about Dong Shi xiao bin (Dong Shi imitates a frown). Now we have another story about Han Dan xue bu (Han Dan Walks),

Han Dan Walks was first mentioned in Chuang Tzu, a story about a boy from Shouling (Wade-Giles romanization Shâu-ling, see below) who traveled to Handan to learn the Handan Walk. Before he manages to learn it, however, he had forgotten what he had learned to walk in his old city, and was marched back home on their hands and knees.

In the Book of Chuang Tzu, Chapter XVII, the disciple of Chuang Tzu, Kung-dze Mâu mentioned a story about Handan Walk:

‘And have you not heard of the young learners of Shâu-ling 1, and how they did in Han-tan? Before they had acquired what they might have done in that capital, they had forgotten what they had learned to do in their old city, and were marched back to it on their hands and knees. ’

In the note to ‘Shâo-ling’, James Legge says ‘Of the incident referred to, I have not been able to learn anything.’ I wonder why he didn’t know about the Handan Walk. To many Chinese, the meaning of this idiom seems very obvious. But why the people of Shâu-ling went to Handan to learn its walking styles?

Handan (Wade-Giles romanization Han-tan) City, southern Hebei province, China. During the Warring State period ( from 386 to 228 BCE), Handan was the capital of the state of Zhao. It was a centre of trade and was famed for luxury and elegance.

In the translation of James Legge, he use plural ‘the young learners’, ‘they’ and ‘were marched back’, that means it’s a group of young learner instead of one went to Handan to it walking styles.

Now the people of Handan are proud of this awkward young learner, and set up a statue for him at the cross-road in the city centre, as tourist attractions.


Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a de

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was