Chinese Language

Proverbs | 5

Bu ru hu xue, yan de hu zi : Without entering the tiger's lair, how can one catch the tiger's cub?

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Zhong wen

Without entering the tiger's lair, how can one catch the tiger's cub?
不入虎穴, 焉得虎子

The source of this saying is Hou Han Shu (The History of the Later Han Dynasty - 25 AD to 220 AD). Mao Zedong quoted this in his Shi Jian Lun (On Practice) to illustrate the importance of taking risks when the stakes are high.

The English phrase 'to beard the lion in his den' may conjure up the same imagery, but of course it is quite dissimilar in meaning. 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained', on the other hand, is a closer match.'

© Copyright Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 2001 reprinted from SACU's China Now 119, Page 40, December 1989

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