"Chinese proverbs can be split into chengyu (accepted phrases), yanyu (familiar sayings), suyu (popular sayings), and xiehouyu (two-part allegorical sayings). Unique to the Chinese language, xiehouyu proverbs are vivid with images and dramatic  results."     

— Excerpt from Haiwang Yuan, The Magic Lotus Lantern and Other Tales from the Han Chinese. Libraries Unlimited, 2006)

A fable is a very short story which is meant to illustrate a point or teach us a lesson. Usually, but not always, fables are stories about animals that talk like people. The lesson that a fable teaches us is called a moral.

A parable means something similar. It is usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle.

  • Love my house, love the crow on it.
    Meaning - The crow may be ugly, but love it if your really love my house.
  • An ambitious horse will never return to its old stable.
    Meaning - A capable employee never returns to the same employer after quiting him.
  • It is easy to dodge a spear that comes in front of you but hard to avoid an arrow shot from behind.
    Meaning - It is easier to guard against the obvious.
  • Green Mountain and Firewood.
    Meaning - Used in face of setbacks as a consolation: unless the main force is lost, there is always a chance of staging a come-back.
  • Flowing Water Never Stale.
    Meaning - It means that people got to renew their knowledge not to stay behind.

  • Three feet of ice does not result from one day of freezing weather.
    Meaning - A predicament is not formed without a period of events creating it.